Do you experience fear at the thought of going to the dentist? We understand—dental anxiety is fairly common. Most people don’t look forward to their dental appointments, and many experience stress around the topic. Fortunately, although these individuals often feel uneasy about an impending dental appointment, they typically make it through a visit just fine.
However, some people experience terror at the thought of visiting the dentist. This dental phobia—sometimes referred to as odontophobia—causes them to feel tremendous fear of the dentist that goes beyond typical anxiety. This terror can lead them to avoid the dentist altogether, resulting in tooth decay and even periodontal disease. Worse still, their poor oral health may reduce their life expectancy, as it’s been linked to serious conditions like lung infections and heart disease.
Whether you experience anxiety or dental phobia, there are ways you can overcome your discomfort:
1. Distract Yourself
A common cause of dental fear is a dislike of the typical sounds heard at the dentist’s office. We recommend that for those patients, they bring along a music player and headphones. Music can be very soothing, and it also helps to eliminate any external noises.
2. Give Yourself A Pep Talk
Rather than telling yourself, “I know this is going to be terrible,” or “I hate going to the dentist,” try to have a positive attitude. The more that you remind yourself that going to the dentist is a natural activity and the experience is bound to be much better than your fears, the more comfortable you’ll feel.
3. Bring a Buddy
Some people take comfort in bringing a friend or spouse along. If you think that you’d feel more relaxed with a supportive companion, please don’t hesitate to bring them with you to your next appointment. At Hassey Do Duy, we like our patients to feel at ease.
4. Try Muscle Relaxation Techniques
If the dentist office isn’t your thing, progressive muscle relaxation may help. For example, try tensing the muscles in your feet and holding the tension for 10 seconds. Then, move on to your calves. Continue to work your way up your body. This technique will not only help you to feel more relaxed, but it will also distract you during your appointment.
5. Visit a Therapist
If you have an extreme dental phobia, we encourage you to consider seeing a therapist. Phobias are often treated using behavioral therapy, and a therapist can help you slowly become more comfortable with the thought of seeking dental treatment.
6. Tell Us
We’re non-judgmental and have a lot of experience treating anxious patients. For that reason, we encourage you to tell us if you’re fearful about visiting our office. After we’ve had the opportunity to listen to your concerns, we promise to do everything we can to put you at ease!