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Overcoming Dental Phobia

If you feel anxious or scared when going to the dentist, you are not alone. Studies show that over 60% of Americans experience dental anxiety and 10% suffer from dental phobia. Dental anxiety looks different for everyone. The most common signs of dental anxiety include sweating, a racing heartbeat, and even trouble sleeping leading up to the appointment. Signs of dental phobia are more severe ranging from getting physically sick to having trouble breathing before or during your appointment.

How can you overcome your dental anxiety or dental phobia? Here are some things you can do to help overcome your fear of visiting the dentist:

Discover The Why

When it comes to dental anxiety, the first step is to find the root of the problem. Try reflecting on your past dental visits and what you liked and what you didn’t like. Usually, this exercise will open your eyes to the factors that led to your dental fears.

Where Do Our Dental Anxieties And Phobias Stem From?

  • Pain – Maybe you’ve experienced a painful trip to the dentist in the past or when you were a child that has led to your dental anxiety. It’s important to know that the top priority of modern dentistry is the patient’s comfort.
  • No Control – The fear of the unknown and loss of control is one of the main reasons people are afraid to go to the dentist. Today, dentists may offer amenities such as blankets, eye masks, or headphones to help make you more relaxed.
  • Embarrassment – Most people who fear going to the dentist end up not scheduling appointments as often as they should which leads to poor oral hygiene. It can be embarrassing for them to visit the dentist when they know something could be wrong. Choose a dental office that provides a nonjudgemental environment so you can feel safe going in for an appointment.
  • Bad MemoriesChildhood and adolescent memories are the leading cause of dental anxieties and phobias. When dentists fail to explain or ask before doing something, it can lead to a patient’s distrust and betrayal. Please ask your dentist questions and let them know your situation before the appointment even begins.

Choosing The Right Dentist

Perhaps the most important thing you can do is research to find the right dentist for you. When searching for your new dentist, keep these questions in mind:

  • Are all of the reviews good?
  • Are there any reviews that are concerning?
  • Does the receptionist seem friendly and understanding?
  • Do they answer all of your questions?
  • Do they have amenities to make you feel comfortable and relaxed?
  • Are their tools modern and up-to-date?
  • Do they offer sedation dentistry?

How Early Should I Arrive At The Dentist?

A simple thing you can do is arrive at your appointment early so you’re not giving yourself anything else to stress about. This will also give you ample time to check in, try some relaxation techniques, and ask any last-minute questions that need to be answered. A good rule of thumb is to arrive at least 15 minutes early.

Can I Bring A Family Member Or Friend To The Dentist?

Asking a close friend or family member to tag along can greatly reduce anxiety. With someone you know close by, you will feel more at ease and calm during your treatment.

Ask Questions

Be sure to call ahead to ask any clarifying questions you have regarding the appointment or procedure. You may feel like you’re bothering the receptionist, but they will be happy to answer your questions! If they sound annoyed to address your questions or try to end your call hastily, this is a good sign not to schedule an appointment. The front desk staff are a direct reflection of the dentists and the dental office.

It may also be helpful for you to ask your dental hygienist or dentist questions before they begin the treatment or procedure. They should be more than willing to answer any questions you have.

Let’s See If We’d Make A Good Fit

We think we are the right dental office for you! We strive to provide a safe space for our patients where they can be comfortable. Please give us a call at (574) 269-1787 or contact us here to schedule your appointment or to simply ask questions. We can’t wait to talk to you!