Too scared to go to the dentist? Find out how to overcome dentophobia and get the treatment you need in five simple steps.
Did you know that dental fear affects 36% of the population, with a further 12% suffering from extreme fear?
That’s right — and dentophobia can cause people to avoid the dentist for years, often missing out on treatment for serious oral health issues.
Luckily, there are ways to overcome your fear and get the treatment you need. The five tips below are a great starting point for anyone looking to deal with their phobia.
1. Identify the Root Cause
Knowing why you’re so afraid of the dentist will help you develop strategies to make the experience less frightening.
In many cases, dentophobia stems for a bad past experience at the dentist. This might have been a painful procedure or a dentist who didn’t communicate well and made you feel out of control.
Bring up your concerns with your new dentist so that they can be properly addressed.
2. Find an Understanding Dentist
Some dentists specialize in treating nervous patients, so it’s worth asking around until you find the right one. You could take recommendations from friends or family in your area.
Ask potential dentists how they normally treat patients with dentophobia, and don’t be afraid to meet with a few before you find the right match.
A good dentist will be clear about what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. They should include you in all decision making, never pressuring you to do anything you’re not comfortable with.
3. Take a Supportive Friend or Relative
Freaking out at the thought of even setting foot inside the dentist’s office?
Taking a supportive friend or relative can be a big help, especially if you haven’t been to the dentist for a while. Ask if they can be in the room with you, and have them chat with you during the procedure as a distraction.
Choose a friend who’s calm, patient, and not going to dismiss your concerns.
4. Distract Yourself By Listening to Music
Got a long procedure like a tooth clean or extraction coming up?
Ask your dentist if you can wear headphones and listen to music or a podcast while in the chair. This is a great way to calm your nerves and keep your mind off what’s going on.
You could even listen to a guided meditation or breathing exercise for anxiety.
5. Ask Your Dentist About Medications
If you’re especially scared or you need to undergo a painful procedure, your dentist should discuss medication with you.
They might be able to prescribe a sedative drug to help calm you down ahead of the procedure, use numbing agents to reduce pain, or provide nitrous oxide. If you’re afraid of needles, ask about laser dentistry options.
Medication isn’t always necessary, but it can be helpful in certain cases.
Can I Cure Dentophobia?
There no specific cure for dentophobia, but finding the right dentist and taking steps to reduce your anxiety will mean you can get the treatment you need without too much distress.
If you have dentophobia specifically with needles you may not need to worry about it. With new technologies like our Solea laser, needlephobia will be a thing of the past. Solea uses light to vaporize tooth structure or soft tissue at such a high frequency, that it overwhelms pain receptors, which prevents pain signals from ever reaching the brain. The result is an analgesic effect that allows the work to be completed with very little sensation. Learn more about the Solea laser.
After a few successful dentist visits, you’ll probably start to wonder why you were ever so scared.
Want to book an appointment with an understanding dentist? Contact us today.