If you are afraid to go to the dentist, you are not alone. Between 9 to 20 percent of Americans avoid going to the dentist due to anxiety or fear. Those with dental phobia feel anxious about visiting the dentist or even the thought of a dentist. This fear can stem from past negative experiences, history from their family or friends, or feeling a loss of control.
Fortunately, there are ways to gain strength, hope, and courage to overcome these fears and achieve the smile of your dreams. The new year is a time to start on a new path and say goodbye to your old ways. There has never been a better time to conquer your fear of going to the dentist. Here are some tips to start your new journey toward the dental health you deserve.
Choosing the Right Dentist
The first step to ease your anxiety about the dental chair is to find a dentist that helps you feel comfortable. Some dentists may lack the patience to treat anxious patients with the care they deserve. The best dentists will use simple methods to ease dental anxiety by letting their patients know they have control and are in good hands.
These dentists will:
- Take a gentle approach to explain what their patient will soon feel and for how long.
- Ask their patient frequently throughout the appointment for permission to continue the procedure.
- Allow their patient to leave at any time if they feel uncomfortable. They can do this by giving their patient a cue. (ex: “If you feel we need to stop for any reason, raise your right hand.”)
- Make time for any breaks that the patient requests.
If you’re looking for a new dentist, be honest about your fears and concerns when you call them. Ask if you can speak to the dentist about your anxiety before your first appointment. If the receptionist isn’t accommodating, or the dentist never returns your call, you know it is not the right office for you.
Overcome Your Fear of the Dentist
After you’ve made your decision and found a dentist, you may still have some anxiety, and that is okay! Even if your mind tells you everything will be okay, your body may feel otherwise and still fear the thought of the dentist’s chair. It may take multiple visits until you rid your mind of negative thoughts about a dental office.
Here are some tips to help you feel less anxious about your first appointment.
- Ask someone you trust to go with you on your first visit. If you have a close relative or friend with no fear of dentists, you’ll feel more at ease with their support. Any caring dentist should have no problem with your support buddy sitting with you during treatment. If they have an issue with it, you know it’s time to find a new dentist!
- Find something to distract yourself with so you don’t think about the procedure. Try listening to your favorite music with headphones while sitting in the dentist’s chair. Call your dentist and ask if they have TVs in the treatment room. Next thing you know, it will be a thing of the past, and you will be glad you took the initiative to go!
- Try using relaxation techniques such as controlled breathing to eliminate negative thoughts about the procedure. Take a big breath, hold it in, and let it out very slowly. You can slow your heart rate and relax your muscles by controlling your breathing. Use this method to go to your “happy place.”
- Be sure to voice any concerns, fears, questions, or discomfort throughout your appointment. Your dental team is there to help you! If you want to know more about a specific instrument or treatment, asking questions will help you feel less anxious. Let your dentist know if you need to take a moment before continuing your procedure.
Expert Cosmetic Dentistry in New York City.
At Marc Lazare D.D.S., M.A.G.D., we are committed to helping you achieve the smile you deserve. We will go the extra mile to help ease your worries and make your experience as comfortable as possible. Our luxurious dental office is like no other, and we are confident you couldn’t be in better hands.
Get in touch with our friendly team at (332) 334-8290 or contact us here!