Dental Guides

5 Ways to Get Rid of Your Dental Fears

You open the front door and take the first step inside. Almost instantly you can hear the whirl of a drill in the far off distance, and what might possibly be the sound of quiet desperation and struggle on the receiving end of that gruesome apparatus. You can start smelling the sweat dripping from your brow, and look for the nearest seat to bury yourself in so you can take a moment to catch your breath and calm your nerves.

Sound familiar? What might otherwise be a typical scene we imagine in movies is also the paralyzing dread many adults face with every day that keeps them from receiving oral treatment. The fact is there are a great number of adults who harbor some level of fear about visiting the dentist, which results in deteriorating oral health.

It is estimated that more than 75% of adults in the United States have some form of dental fear, ranging anywhere from mild to severe. It is also estimated that 5 to 10 percent of US adults suffer from extreme dental phobia--also known as dentophobia or odontophobia--to the point where they avoid oral treatment at all costs. This can be a big issue later on in life, and something that can be overcome with patience and courage.

Here are 5 tips to help you get rid of your dental fears.

1. Engage with your dental professionals

You do know the people working on your teeth care, right? The dental assistants, dental hygienists, and dentists do all they can to help you. If you let them know that you are feeling a little worried, they will understand and can better accommodate you to get rid of those nasty feelings. The people behind the tools are real people too, not the monsters with pickaxes you picture in your head, and they know what it's like to experience anxiety as well. Try communicating often, and let them know whenever you are feeling uncomfortable.

2. A healthy smile is a happy person

It's true. If you regularly get a dental checkup, this helps to prevent numerous problems that can occur later on. If you choose to avoid seeing the dentist and a problem arises, matters will only get worse as time goes on and treatment will be more painful by then. Avoidance only reinforces your negative view of the dentist, and often your fears will become bigger the longer the time between each visit. By visiting the dentist once or twice per year you can prevent those "worse case scenarios" from ever happening, and see for yourself that regular checkups aren't such a big deal.

3. Bring a friend or a family member

Sometimes all you need is a little support. Seeing a familiar face in the office with you can instantly help to relieve some tension. Next time you are scheduled for an appointment, ask a friend or family member to come along.

4. Distract yourself

Often you will find distractions help a lot in coping with dental visits. Simple things such as counting to yourself or reminding yourself of how courageous you are can help you get through the treatment. Focus on deep breaths and relax your muscles to dull your fears. You can also bring in your MP3 player, and listen to music while your dentist works.

5. Make it a fun experience

Ultimately how you view the dentist results from habit. If you have dental fears from watching all those movie scenes with drills in them, or from a negative experience in your past, it creates that fear every time you visit the office. Slowly it becomes a perpetual cycle in the future that is harder to get rid of over time. If you choose to make it a positive experience and always look on the bright side, before you know it your fears will vanish into thin air. Choosing to see the benefits of the situation displays lots of courage, and makes you a stronger person in the end.

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