Visiting the dentist is a must and has many health benefits, not only for your mouth and teeth, but for your overall health aswell. Going to the dentist isn’t going to be up there with some of the best or favourite experiences of your life, and even we as dentists get the fact that a lot of people (at best) simply dislike coming. However for some people it is much more than this. They can be crippled by a fear which stops them visiting a dentist for many years if not at all. This can have many negative effects and impact on your health and while you probably think you are protecting yourself from fear or an uncomfortable experience, you could actually be doing more harm than good.
Why do people get scared of the dentist?
The same question could be asked of anything – spiders, lifts, clowns, balloons – it is always either the fear of the unknown or a previous bad experience.
The best dentists and dental surgeries know and recognise this and will (like us) take steps to treat everyone as an individual and help in any way possible.
Dental phobia or fear can mean different things to different people but if your worries stop you from even attending even a routine appointment, then you know you have problems. One of the ironic things about fearing the dentist is related to the pain and uncomfortableness that may be experienced, so many people avoid going. Sometimes problems occur meaning they have no choice but to visit a dentist when a painful and uncomfortable problem arises anyway.
The dental world has changed dramatically in the last few years and continues to do so (for the better) as time passes on. Dentists today do not operate like they once did in the 19th century, so treatments are far easier, more understood, less complicated and more comfortable.
Phobias are only dealt with by using a hands-on method and tackling the problem head on. Sadly what this means in simple terms, is that the only way to avoid being fearful of the dentist is to visit the dentist. Of course this is easier said than done, but we hope the below specialist tips will help put you at ease and reassure you.
1) As mentioned above, finding a dentist who is supportive and sympathetic to the issue is absolute key. We have plenty of experience at dealing with nervous patients and there is nothing more satisfying than seeing a once terrified patient view a trip to the dentist just the same as anyone else through our help and care.
2) Once you have found a clinic you think might be suitable, visit there to familiarise yourself with the place more and get to know some of the staff. This can go a long way in helping with ‘the fear of the unknown.’
3) Unless you are in specific pain, the initial appointment will be a check-up so you can relax knowing that nothing major will be done. We suggest scheduling an early appointment in every sense, so you are not worrying throughout the day or for weeks to come
4) Remember that you are in control of your treatment. It helps to remember this because it can be applied in a number of ways:
A) You can work out any treatment programmes with your dentist and gradually build up to these as you feel more confidence.
B) Once you start having treatment you can work out a sign or signal which you can give the dentist which means they will stop if you are feeling uncomfortable – this is a further way trust can be built.
C) Take a relative or friend along with you – this can help relax you and give you confidence whilst fostering the idea that you are in control.
If you class yourself as a nervous patient and are thinking of joining our dental practice, visit our dedicated section where you can find out much more information.