Impossible to be less afraid of the dentist, you say? I said how to be less afraid of the dentist, and not how to totally eliminate your fear of the dentist. Some people will never get over their fear of the dentist, but they can learn to be a little less afraid of the dentist.Why bother to try and be less afraid of the dentist?
Well, you can’t keep avoiding going to the dentist for years at a time – well, you can, but then there will likely come a time when you need to get a dentist quite urgently.
Not having been to the dentist in ages isn’t going to do much for your bad nerves – a dentist may need to do more work on your teeth if you haven’t been to a dentist in ages – and that may be a scary thought for somebody who is afraid of the dentist. If you can become less afraid of the dentist, you can go to the dentist more frequently, comfortably, and can avoid situations where things have gotten out of hand with your teeth due to you avoiding going to the dentist.
Things to do to help you be less afraid of the dentist:
If you’ve had a bad experience with a dentist, change dentists.
Speak to many of your friends and family – friends and family who also USED TO BE petrified of going to the dentist, and ask them which dentist it is that they’re seeing now, now that they’re no longer as afraid of the dentist as they used to be. Get an appointment with that same dentist.
Speak to people with kids, and ask them which dentist is good with kids – use that same dentist for yourself.
Do an excellent job of looking after your teeth as much as possible, so that when you do go to the dentist, is it more likely only something small that requires fixing.
Don’t think that it’s too late because your teeth are already bad – you can at least help that your teeth don’t continue deteriorating at a rapid rate if you do a better job of looking after them.
If you can afford it, go to the dentist as often as possible for minor things like having your teeth cleaned – this helps you become familiar with the dentist, and more comfortable when he needs to do some more serious work on your teeth.
Open your mouth and speak to the dentist as you sit down in that dentist chair.
Tell your dentist about your fears. All good dentists try not to have their patients feel any pain, but if you actually inform the dentist of just how nervous you are, he may at least speak to you more gently or more frequently during the dental procedure, which should help calm your nerves a little.
If you are particularly afraid of pain, ask for an extra injection – maybe the injection hurts a little, but you’ll rest easier if you know you’ve had enough injections to totally numb any gum area you are worried about.
If the dentist doesn’t do it on his own, after an injection ask him to show you the difference between the numb area in your mouth, and a non numb area, by pressing a metal dental tool up against the numb area, and with the same pressure up against the non numb area.
If you can’t stand surprises in the dentist chair – pain related or not – before the dentist starts any work on your tooth or teeth, ask him if he wouldn’t mind telling you every last thing he is about to do, what he is doing during the dental procedure, and what’s coming next too.
Also ask that when your dentist does tell you each thing that he also please gives a rough estimate of how many seconds or minutes each little dental procedure will last. You may be worried that this sort of request may bug your dentist, and of course you don’t want an irritable dentist, but if you ask, and your dentist does get irritable, you can also consider going to see a different dentist next time. It is in your dentist’s own best interest to be polite to you and to give you what you ask for, and if your dentist can’t do that for you, perhaps it’s time to look for a dentist who can.
Hopefully your serious dentist visits are few and far between, but if you do need to go to the dentist for a filling or for an extraction – or for a more involved dental procedure – try remembering these tips on how to be less afraid of the dentist.
© Copyright Teresa Schultz 2013, 2014, 2015