Four Tips To Overcome Dental Phobia

Dental_Care If you cringe with fear just thinking about getting some badly needed dental care, you’re not alone. Research indicates that 20 percent of the population goes to the dentist only when absolutely necessary, and that 5 to 8 percent will avoid a visit to the dentist at all costs.

Persons suffering from dental phobias – defined as an irrational and uncontrollable fear of dentists and/or dental procedures – usually experience one or both of two types of fear. Some are afraid of the unknown: the loss of control and the vulnerability they fear that they will experience during dental procedures are extremely uncomfortable for them. Others feel terror in response to an actual trauma that was suffered at the dentist’s office in the past. Examples of past issues that might have sparked the phobia can include dentists who did not properly control the patient’s pain or who acted cold and uncaring in response to the patient’s distress.

Here are some tips for overcoming dental phobias, so that you may get the routine or urgent dental care you need.

  1. Talk to your dentist about your fears. If your dentist understands what you are afraid of, he or she may be able to modify his or her approach to make things less distressing for you.
  2. Have your dentist explain the steps of your dental procedure before they start, as well as during the process. This ensures no surprises for you as things progress.
  3. Actively work to reduce your own anxiety. Make sure you schedule your appointment when you aren’t rushed, and explore meditation or other methods to calm yourself beforehand. Ask for or bring in headphones and an MP3 player to distract yourself with music while the dentist is working.
  4. Ask about sedation options. While it’s often better to constructively address the fears with the steps above, sedation can provide relief and allow treatment for some patients.

However you choose to conquer your dental phobias, remember that you’re doing more than overcoming a difficult mental situation – you’re doing your entire body a favor by ensuring your dental care needs are taken care of.

“Your dentist can partner with you to make your visit safe and comfortable for you,” says Dr. Carol Ford, a cosmetic dentist who practices in central Phoenix. “The health of your mouth impacts your overall health, so it is important to visit your dental professional on a regular basis.”

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