How to Stay Calm on Your Dental Visits
Whether we develop a toothache or perhaps have damaged our teeth in an accident, there is little getting away from the fact that at some point in our life, we will end up in the dentist's chair. Of course, even if our teeth are in excellent health, we should find ourselves sitting in the chair at least twice a year for our check ups in order to spot any problems and nip them in the bud early one. Unfortunately for some, the fear of going to the dentist is overwhelming and means that these appointments are never kept; and even for the rest of us who do struggle to get there, it can be a very unpleasant experience if we are overcome by fear.
To varying degrees, most of us have probably found ourselves sweating and gripping the arm of the chair as the dentist approaches and this makes our visit one to be dreaded; however, there are ways in which the fear can be at least eased and possible eradicated all together.
Hopefully, these little tips will make your visit to the dentist a much more tolerable experience.
Know your Dentist
They say that knowledge is power and being aware of your dentist's experience and qualifications can be a great help. Knowing that he invests in the latest equipment and has continual training can give you the faith that he will perform his procedures well and with the minimal amount of pain. Very often, our fear stems from a particular incident, most likely as a child. If this is so, ask yourself if it was this dentist where it happened. If it wasn't then what do you have to fear and if it was, well, probably it is best to change your dentist.
Talk to your Dentist
Some dentists will find the time to hold a meeting with a patient to discuss their fears and explain what actually happens during a procedure rather than simply expecting you to tolerate it. It was once explained to me for example; who had a fear of flying, that aeroplanes actually 'float' on air in that it is a very fine form of water. After that, flying seemed logical and in the same way, an expert explaining for example, what a root canal is will help you to understand the facts and not some myth which your friends talk about. Naturally, your dentist's time is limited so it is best not to take this approach unless your fear is severe.
Some people find that meditation or relaxation and breathing exercises help them before the visit. This is perhaps only likely to work well in those whose fear is relatively minimal though and not those with extreme phobias.
Take a Friend
Taking a friend along can also help, especially if they are someone that you trust. Taking a friend who sits next to you making 'drilling' sounds whilst in the waiting room is probably not a good idea. For many people though, a lengthy waiting room wait only builds up the intensity of the fear, so taking a friend to talk to can help to pass this time and leave you feeling more relaxed.
If all else fails, many dentists, and especially cosmetic dentists now offer oral sedation when doing a procedure, and especially invasive ones such as dental implants, for example. This is often administered through a drip in the hand or sometimes in the form of a gas. This will leave you fully conscious during the procedure but in a totally relaxed state. Many people who have had oral sedation have commented that what was actually an hour long procedure, seemed to pass by in the space of a minute. You should, of course, make sure you have someone with you if you have oral sedation as you will feel a little 'out of it' for a while afterwards and will certainly not be safe to drive or possibly even take public transport.
Hopefully one of the above, or a combination of them, will enable you to overcome your own fear of the dentist and make sure that you have regular dental checks to keep your teeth in good condition and give you a great smile long into your old age.
Mark Knowles has suffered from dental phobia for far too many years but finally after his dentist suggested oral sedation, he is now able to have regular dental care without the fear he once had.