That weird chair, those nasty sounds, and those pointy tools give me the chills, and if you agree, you should join me in learning how to overcome the fear of dentists. The truth is, no one likes going to the dentist’s, and some of us are terrified of even thinking about it. So, we postpone our visits and let our teeth get in worse and worse condition. We have to accept that the problem is not going to go away on its own and that we can’t avoid going to the dentist forever. Eventually, we’ll have to schedule that visit and show up, so it’s better to do it as soon as possible to get it over with and prevent further damage to the teeth, which would mean more visits. Of course, our logical minds can understand that but, unless we’re in danger, there’s rarely any logic in fear, so let’s learn more about how to overcome the fear of dentists and try everything we can.
1. Pick the right dentist
The right dentist for you is the one that understands your fear and doesn’t judge you for it but acts accordingly instead. Make sure to talk to the dentist and see if you feel good communicating with them. Pay attention to the staff and the overall atmosphere in the clinic as well. You shouldn’t dread coming to this place, at least not right away, so pick the clinic that makes you feel comfortable and a dentist that you can easily communicate with.
2. Get to know your dentist
We’re learning how to overcome the fear of dentists, but we aren’t really afraid of the person behind the mask but of what they’ll do to us and the pain that comes with the procedure. Or are we? Having a scary figure in a face mask looming over you with a needle in their hand can be terrifying, and we often forget that there are real human beings underneath those white coats. This is why it’s a good idea to simply get to know your dentist better. Talk to them and share with them what exactly you are afraid of whether it’s the needles or the pain. Most importantly, get to know them as a person, not as a dentist. This doesn’t mean that you have to make friends with your dentist, but being reminded that they are a person just like you might help you feel more comfortable around them.
3. Let your dentist know about your fears
You’re a grown man or a woman, and you’re afraid of the dentist, and I’m here to tell you that there’s nothing embarrassing about that. A lot of people have dental anxiety and fear, but they feel too embarrassed to talk about that. Keep in mind that your dentist is already very familiar with this fear since most of his patients probably feel the same way you do. So, let your dentist know about your phobia before the appointment.
4. Get accustomed to all the tools
Those tools look like something from a torture chamber or a horror movie, am I right? What makes them look even scarier is that we only see them right before they are about to cause us discomfort or even pain. This is why an important part of learning how to overcome the fear of dentists is to ask your dentist to help you familiarize yourself with the tools. The dentist can let you hold the instruments and explain which one is used for what. This will help your scared mind realize that these are not the objects for torture but simple medical equipment.
5. Learn more about what the dentist is going to do
People have always feared the unknown. We are most often scared of the things that we don’t understand, so find out more about the procedures your dentist will do. Read about them and get familiar with the terms dentists use as well. Ask your dentist to always explain the procedure too. This will take off that veil of mystery that causes fear, and make you more relaxed.
6. Agree on a hand signal for when you’re in pain
You can give your dentist a nonverbal signal whenever you want them to stop what they are doing, and there’s nothing wrong with taking breaks either. It might take longer to get out of the clinic, but the visit will be less unpleasant. Maybe you could talk about something unrelated during the break or maybe even joke around a little.
7. Take care of your teeth
The best prevention for painful visits to the dentist is taking good care of your teeth. Make sure to regularly wash your teeth and don’t put off necessary visits to the dentist. Don’t forget – the longer you wait the more work your dentist will have to do, which means longer stays, more visits, and more pain.
8. Bring your loved one with you
There’s nothing wrong with bringing someone along so that you can hold their hand or put on a brave face for them. You don’t need to be a kid to enjoy someone being there during the procedure, and they can even promise to take you for ice cream later. Yes, it works on adults too.
9. Listen to music
Those tools sure look scary, but they can sound even scarier. Learning how to overcome the fear of dentists includes distracting yourself from those awful sounds. Use your earbuds and listen to music during the procedure, why not?
10. Ask for sedation
Finally, you can always ask for sedation, and hopefully, that will do until they start using total anesthesia for every visit to the dentist (wouldn’t that be great?). Always remind yourself that what you’re going to feel will be more like slight discomfort than intolerable pain, no matter how much it feels different when you have to schedule an appointment. Teach your children about dental hygiene so that they would have to visit the dentist as rarely as possible and hopefully they’ll be less afraid than you were before you used these tips!