For many people, a trip to the dentist is not at the top of their list of favorite things to do. However, most can get through a checkup with relatively low levels of fear or anxiety. For those who have a dental phobia, even thinking about going to the dentist is enough to cause panic. If you are someone who avoids dental offices due to your inability to deal with the sounds, feelings and overall experiences you associate with an oral cleaning or other dental care, then you could be exposing yourself to negative health consequences caused by inadequate oral health.
If showing up at the dentist and not having a clue what you are about to undergo sends you into a tailspin, then you may benefit from having a full explanation of all procedures prior to your visit. Make sure that your doctor understands your concerns and is willing to meet with you to discuss your appointment in advance, or even over the phone if needed.
Fear of the Dentist
For some people, the dentist himself is an ominous presence that causes fear. A dentist who only comes into the room for a few moments to inflict pain, all while wearing a mask, can be worrisome. If possible, find a professional who can help you break down the doctor-patient barrier by speaking with you, sitting at eye level, and taking other steps to lessen the tension in the room.
Fear of the Equipment
The tray of equipment next to your chair can look like a line-up of torture devices. The equipment can be loud, sharp and terrifying, but if you take the time to hold and inspect each item, you may find that they are not that scary after all. Talk to your dentist about doing this if it’s the instruments that frighten you.
Fear of Feeling Out of Control
Lying back in the examination chair and letting other people look into the mouth can make some patients feel out of control of their situation. If this is the case for you, ask your doctor if you can be leaned back partially or even assist with the process by holding a tool.
The dentist does not have to be a stress-inducing experience if you are willing to work towards feeling more comfortable in the chair.