What do to before a dentist appointment when you literally can’t even stand the idea of sitting in the dentist’s chair? Dentophobia or the fear of visiting the dentist isn’t uncommon. As a matter of fact, it affects around 36% of the entire population. Furthermore, a considerable 12% of the population experiences extreme dental fear or odontophobia.
Dental fear isn’t an issue when your teeth are healthy, and your smile looks gorgeous. However,r when you need dental therapy and need to make several trips to the dentist, this fear can be numbing and unbearable.
To make your next visit to your dental clinic less stressful and to help you soothe the memory of any past negative experience with your dentist, here are ten great anxiety tips that will help you with dentophobia.
Odontophobia Isn’t a Laughing Matter
Even though people don’t have any reason to fear our Coral Gables Dentistry, there are quite a lot of people in the United States who genuinely worry before each dental appointment they have. Furthermore, a considerable chunk of these people also avoids their regular dental checkups because of odontophobia. And truth be told, regular routine dental screenings are way too important to skip.
When assessing negative experiences, there are several reasons why people may fear dentists. While most patients report pleasant experiences with their oral surgeon in Miami, there are always a few negative stories that end being dental terror stories.
These can stem from several root causes. Even then, most of the time, we will see the following culprits:
- Negative experiences in the past where the procedure caused pain
- Fear of needles and shots, and even being more afraid that these shots won’t work
- Panic setting in when you hear the dental drill’s sound
- Being nervous and feeling discomfort because somebody’s working in your mouth
- Or maybe you feel embarrassed because you simply neglected proper dental hygiene in the past.
There are several root causes for dentophobia. Still, if you want to keep your overall health intact, it’s vital to overcome these phobias and get back on track with your dental duties.
The Dark Side of Dental Avoidance
One negative experience shouldn’t discourage you from battling your fear of the dentist. No matter how frightening the dentist’s chair may seem, missing routine appointments is still a must if you want to keep your dental (and overall) health at optimum levels. Avoiding the dentist can lead to a wide range of uncomfortable dental problems that may even cause further complications, leading to more complex and severe health issues.
These dental issues are:
- Tartar and plaque
- Tooth loss
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Tooth discoloration
- Teeth infections
- Gum disease (Gingivitisis)
Scientists believe that not seeking treatment for odontophobia and neglecting regular dental checkups can also lead to more concerning health problems, like heart disease.
For example, there’s a theory that there’s a strong link between gingivitis and heart problems. Experts suggest that the continuous inflammation plaquing the gums can spread into the bloodstream as well, narrowing the arteries. On the other hand, expert research also suggests that gingivitis may play a crucial part in the development of different lung infections, cancer, osteoporosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Even by looking at these few claims, it’s easy to understand why dental experts urge patients suffering from dentophobia to overcome their fears and start scheduling (not to mention, showing up to) regular dental checkups to catch any lingering issues that may lead to more severe problems down the road.
10 Tips to Combat Odontophobia
What to do before a dental appointment if you’re scared? Well, saying that there’s no need to be afraid probably won’t work. We know that unreasonable phobias can be just as debilitating as authentic fears.
Still, there are a few effective strategies that can help patients to overcome dentophobia. For starters, consider these ten things:
Look for highly-trained dental experts who cater to phobics
You can rest assured that phobics aren’t the only ones who are worried about their dental appointments. Even those who are used to visiting the dentist may be a bit uneasy at times before a scheduled session. In reality, these things are so common that there are numerous dentists who consciously take steps to help their patients alleviate anxiety. For example, Gables Sedation Family Dentistry offers several sedation methods that will make most procedures pain-free.
Have somebody come with you
Don’t go alone. Having somebody waiting for you outside (or even next to you) can help reduce stress levels greatly. Consider going with a friend or a loved one.
Use technology to your advantage
Take off your mind the burden of the dental procedure. Make sure to use a dental practice that offers things like music, television, or a warm blanket to take the edge off a bit.
Get to the Dentist on time, but don’t arrive too soon
If you arrive ahead of time, the long wait can be frustrating and can make dentophobia even worse. If you have no other choice, at least bring a magazine with you so you can distract yourself in the waiting room.
Give various relaxation techniques a try
A great calming method can go a long way in helping you learn to control your anxiety. There are several ways you can try, and the sooner you give them a try, the more control you will have over your fears.
Ask the dentist about possible sedation methods
For most patients, the thought of being able to choose from different sedation options can make a huge change. Whether they are oral sedatives or nitrous oxide, these methods can often enable patients to actually sleep through even the most intricate dental procedures.
Painless procedures are a reality
Dentistry has come a long way since its beginnings, and nowadays, a negative experience is really scarce. In fact, it’s the dentist’s job to make you feel comfortable and to go through the entire procedure without feeling any discomfort.
Take a break
If there’s a chance to take five during a procedure, make sure to take a short break whenever you need. A professional dental team knows that you sometimes need a bit to relax.
Don’t shy away from asking questions
Asking your dentist about the procedure is totally normal. As a matter of fact, dentists themselves should take the time to educate their patients about the nature of the procedures and the problems that lead to their necessity. By understanding dentistry better, you can feel more at ease whenever you have to show up to an appointment.
Make the upcoming appointment right at the spot
If you suffer from odontophobia, you might not contact the dental office by yourself from home. To avoid problems, make your next appointment right there, while you’re still at the dentist.
You Have Nothing to Fear
Remember, painless dentistry is a thing, and dental offices all take extra steps to keep their patients relaxed. These dentist anxiety tips above can at least serve as the first steps in finally conquering your fears and becoming more serious about your dental health. Facing and overcoming your phobias can, in turn, grant you a beautiful smile and not just improved oral but overall health.
If you want to embrace pain-free dentistry at its finest, feel to schedule an appointment with us and start your journey of conquering your dental phobias once and for all.