Everybody has things that they’re scared of: heights, the dark, spiders, etc being the most common of these. These are some of the fears that don’t have to impact people too much throughout their daily lives because for the most part, they can be avoided by not putting yourself in the situation where you have to tackle fear in the face. However, there are some fears that, for our own good, cannot be avoided. One of these is the fear of seeing the dentist.
Fear of the dentist, or odontophobia, is an excessive fear of getting dental care. Not everybody has excessive fear, but most people can relate to having some form of anxiety when it comes to visiting their dentist.
If you find yourself struck by a fear of the dentist, then there are some things that you can do to help you to manage your fears constructively so that you get the treatment you need.
- Understand that your fears are valid
Having a fear of the dentist is not uncommon. Of course, each and every person who has a fear of the dentist will have reasons why they do so. However, regardless of whether your dentistry fear is related back to an upsetting experience when you were a child, or by hearing particularly horrific stories being recalled by others- you need to acknowledge the existence of the fear and identify the validity of your fear. Being afraid is not going to stop the procedure from happening, but know that it’s okay to be afraid–as long as it doesn’t stop you from going through the treatment.
- Find the right dentist for you
Some dentists will advertise a particular specialism in dealing with anxious patients. They will have adapted their practices to suit people who have a fear of going through dental procedures. They will adapt the atmosphere and include hypnosis and sedation as part of the package. You could also schedule a visit first so that you will know what to expect when you take your first trip. You will have to be prepared to pay for the dentist’s time, which is a small price to pay to know that root canal treatment (RCT) isn’t as scary as you might think had you just gone there without checking out the facilities first.
- Ask about sedation if you have an extreme fear
Thankfully, dentists are all about having different options for sedation if you don’t feel as though you can go through a procedure without it. They will provide you with several options such as taking an anti-anxiety pill one hour prior to your visit or taking nitrous oxide (or laughing gas) to calm you down before your procedure. For dental surgeries, going under general anesthesia will help you to sleep during the operation so you don’t feel a thing.
Lots of people struggle with fear and anxiety surrounding visiting the dentist, but with some open and honest conversations, there are several things that can be done to help to manage your fears and to help you get the treatment you need.