Tips To Overcome A Fear Of The Dentist

Tips To Overcome A Fear Of The Dentist

Having a fear of the dentist is common, however there are ways that you can manage it. Sometimes there are things you can do to overcome a fear yourself, whereas other people may need help from doctors or health professionals. Either way, we will give options you can work through to help ease your fear and get the dental help you need. 

Choose Your Dentist Carefully

Firstly, we’d recommend that you do some research to find a dentist who openly discusses that they are experienced with anxious patients. When a dentist is open about this, they likely have procedures in place throughout their practice to help and support people with a fear of the dentist. Have a read of different websites of dentists in your area and look for mentions of helping nervous patients. If there aren’t any mentions this doesn’t mean that they aren’t experienced in this area, so simply send them an email or give them a call just explaining that you have a fear of the dentist and ask if there is anything they can do to help. 

Examples of how dentists may help people with dental anxiety include allowing them to take control in an appointment and take breaks whenever they need, avoiding long waiting times, encouraging breathing techniques, playing calming music and generally working with you to find out what can help, or making suggestions that they have found to work in the past. When you’ve had bad dental experiences in the past, it can be easy to have those at the forefront of your mind. However, there are so many fantastic dentists out there, from cosmetic dentists in Leeds through to general dentists in London, so don’t give up your search! 

Arrange A Tour Before Your Appointment

For some people, if they’re booking an appointment with a new dentist, the element of the unknown only adds to the fear. Unfamiliar people and surroundings can make your fear worse, so we’d recommend arranging a tour before it can help. Give them a call and then you can arrange a tour, you can go to the practice (knowing how the journey will be may also help), meet the team, meet your dentist and generally just have a bit of a chat without the pressure of knowing that you’ll be having a treatment that same day. 

You can talk about your concerns with the dentist in a consultation room away from one of the surgeries, where experienced dentists will be able to ease some of your concerns and provide different options. For example, if you want or need a specific treatment that may require a tooth being removed, perhaps there are alternative options where you can still get the results you’re looking for. It’s really easy to come to worst-case conclusions when you have a fear, so this can help to ease your mind and give you a chance to think about things before your next appointment. 

Make Sure To Tell Your Dentist

If you decide not to go for a tour before your appointment, it’s still so important that you let your dentist know about your fear. The way that they carry out the appointment can change if they know that you aren’t comfortable or you are scared to be there, so it’s worth letting them know. From giving you more time to get comfortable to ensure you’ve got a signal in place to stop the appointment at any time, as well as helping to put your nerves at ease, it can make a big difference. 

We’d recommend that you let them know in advance if you’re a bit worried about bringing it up in the appointment because then the dentist can take control of the appointment from there. You don’t even need to call up if that makes you nervous, simply drop them an email. If there is anything specific that causes the fear, such as injections or any noises, you can also flag this and there may be alternative options that can be used to ease this. 

Bring A Friend or Family Member

For some people, the idea of going to the dentist on their own and sitting in the waiting room can be daunting and it can make the anxiety before the appointment much worse. So, instead, you could bring a friend or family member to the dentist with you. This can help to keep your mind occupied on the way to the appointment as well as in the waiting room, then you’ll have someone familiar there with you as well which can also help ease anxiety. If you didn’t want your friend in the appointment with you, they could wait outside, so you know when you leave there is someone there waiting as well. Sometimes a friendly face can make a big difference when it comes to anxiety and phobias, so consider this as an option. 

Ask About Sedation Options

For people who need certain dental work done and suffer from a phobia of the dentist, to keep you safe and reduce the stress that can be caused by a phobia, there are sedation options available for particular treatments. This isn’t available at every practice and not everyone will be able to have it (for example if you have certain pre-existing medical conditions), however, it’s something to discuss with your dentist. You can have certain areas numbed before the treatment, or there are options to help put you into a deeply relaxed state for the treatment. This is different to general anaesthetic where you’re fully unconscious, however, it can transform the experience for people with fear. 

Speak To A Medical Professional

Something else people with a serious phobia of the dentist can consider is speaking to a medical professional who may suggest cognitive behavioural therapy. It can help to look into the causes behind the phobia as well as coping mechanisms beyond the ones we’ve discussed here. This is one of the last case scenarios as it can be hard to access unless you pay privately, however, it can be very successful. If you speak to your doctor, they may prescribe anxiety-relieving medication as well, particularly if you experience fear and anxiety in other areas of your life too. If a fear of the dentist is seriously impacting you and affecting your ability to get the medical treatment you need, make sure to speak to a medical professional who is experienced in this area.