This won’t hurt! Overcoming your fear of the dentist

Everyone has a fear of something. Even if it’s just a niggle of concern before you step on a plane or a little wobble while you’re queuing for a rollercoaster. In this article, we’re going to look at dentophobia – also known as a fear of the dentist – and how you can take steps to overcome it. This is something very close to my heart after weeks of dental issues followed by an extraction!

Fear of dentist meme
Why The Fear?
People can have a fear of the dentist for many reasons. The most common one being a bad experience when you were a child. Perhaps the dentist wasn’t particularly kind, or simply had an intimidating demeanour. Maybe the anaesthetic hadn’t quite kicked in before you had a tooth removed, leading to a couple of painful seconds, or maybe the dental assistant accidentally scraped your gum when they were cleaning your teeth.
For others, it’s a complete lack of control. It’s easy to see why. Sitting back in a chair, in the company of a practical stranger, with your mouth wide open while they fuss around in there with sharp objects…it sounds more like a horror movie when you write it down! Not having complete control over a situation is enough for some to avoid making an appointment!
Bad teeth
It’s almost ironic that some people avoid going to the dentist because they believe they have bad teeth. Many avoid going because they feel they’ll be judged too harshly or receive a lecture about the state of their teeth. This vicious circle only gets worse, as the chances of you having your teeth drilled and experiencing more complicated procedures only increases the longer they leave it.
So, what can be done?
Find the right dentist
This is a crucial factor to overcoming your fear of the dentists’ chair. Speak to friends, family or work colleagues and find out about their dental experiences, see if they would recommend their own dentist to you. Finding the right dentist means someone who’ll listen to your concerns and tailor their work accordingly. If you have a problem – you must speak up.
Again, this is key. You might be sweating and secretly thinking of running away and never coming back, but your dentist won’t know that unless you tell them or the staff first. Or you could go a step further and visit a practise that specialises in patients with phobias and anxiety. Yes, they do exist! 
Bring a friend
There are no rules that say you can’t bring someone along with you, although you’ll need to ask if they can be present if you have a procedure. So, if you think it will help – do it! This will offer help, guidance and reassurance.  I took two friends along to my recent extraction - we really know how to have a good day out!
madmumof7 and friends Jane and Claire
If your dentist knows that you’re suffering with anxiety or a phobiathen chances are, they’ll permit you to bring in a distraction or two to help get you through your appointment. This could be listening to a playlist that’s full of relaxation music, or your favourite tunes! Just don't do what I did recently and forgot to put my playlist on shuffle so one song went on a loop - I don't think I will ever be able to listen to it again without thinking of the dentist!

Twiddling a stress ball, counting or something else might help. Or try watching a light-hearted clip or a few highlights from a comedy show before you head into your appointment. 

Once you've found a method that works you will become naturally more confident about going to the dentist more regularly. the worst thing you can do is avoid it until your mouth is too painful to eat. I say this with the voice of experience!

Your smile is one of the first things people remember about you - make it a good one with your dentist's help.
visit the dentist meme

Disclaimer: Collaborative post 

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