Does even the thought of the dentist office make you anxious? You’re not alone.
As much as 20% of the American population suffers from what is known as dental anxiety – or a fear of the dentist. Dental anxiety or phobias are classified as an irrational fear of going to the dentist.
There are many reasons for developing dental anxiety; negative past experiences, embarrassment about your teeth, feeling helpless, fear of pain, and many more. Often this leads to a total avoidance of the dentist office.
Ways to deal with dental anxiety:
Find a dentist you’re comfortable with – It’s like any other doctor. The more comfortable you feel with the doctor, the more comfortable you’ll feel with the visit. Find the right dentist for you.
Tell your dentist about it – Don’t be afraid to speak up! Does hearing your doctor tell you exactly what’s going on help calm your nerves? Maybe you’d prefer they changed the topic all together – you know the old “how ‘bout them Rays?” routine. Remember, you’re not alone.
Listen to your iPod during your visit – Do your best to tune out your surroundings by bringing along your favorite tunes.
Bring a stress relief ball – The name implies its purpose. Having something to hold can be comforting. Think back to when you were a child. Did you have a favorite doll or blanket?
Reward yourself – Plan to do something fun after your appointment. Or buy yourself that gift you’ve been eyeing. It could be considered bribing yourself, but we won’t tell 😉
Know your options – Dental anxiety in extreme cases can become a phobia. Dentists have options if the anxiety reaches this escalated level. If you feel you’ve reached this point, ask your doctor about your options for medications or sedation dentistry.
Remember, dental anxiety is very common and it’s nothing to feel bad about. Tell your doctor about your fears and let him work with you.