Fear can be a vicious cycle. So avoiding the dentist can make your dental visits more painful, costly and contribute to your fear of going to the dentist.
Dental problems often start as minor issues that can be easily and painlessly resolved; but when left unchecked, minor problems turn into major ones that are costly, unpleasant and sometimes, painful to deal with. When you wait until you can’t stand the pain any longer, your fear of the dentist always be reaffirmed by the pain and discomfort associated with your visit.
The best way to deal with dental fear is to meet it head-on. Going to see a dentist for annual checkups and teeth cleanings will commonly reduce the pain, discomfort and fear of dental visits. Confront your fear by finding a dentist that is aware and respectful of your “dental phobia”. If you don’t yet have a dentist, ask friends who they recommend. Try to find friends or co-workers who also experience dental fear, yet still schedule regular dentist appointments. Ask that person what they think of their dentist. If they’re happy with the dentist, chances are good that you will be too.
Strategies for reducing fear of the dentist
Be upfront and honest with the dentist about your fear, and ask what he and his assistants can do during your visits to help reduce it. Some tactics you and your dentist might try to lessen your pain and fear include:
- Local anesthetics
- Pain-killing drugs like Novocain
- Prearranged hand signals when you need a break from a procedure
- Nitrous oxide gas
- Anti-anxiety medication
- Sedation dentistry
Discuss the options with your dentist and make the best choice for you. Even if you are still afraid of going to the dentist, don’t let that stop you from taking care of your teeth!
Categorised in: General Dentistry