Dental anxiety, or fear of going to the dentist, isn’t rare. However, being afraid to have a dental check-up or much needed surgery on your teeth can result in you missing appointments and delaying fixing problems which then escalate. Cavities, root fillings, abscesses and eventually loss of teeth can come from not attending the dentist. For this reason it’s important to learn how to combat fear of dentistry.
Choosing a dentist
When you register at a dental practice make it clear that you have a fear of having your mouth and teeth examined and having dental work carried out. Say that you would like to have a sympathetic dentist who is familiar with treating patients who feel anxious and upset when they have to go to dental appointments.
It’s becoming common practice for dentists to be trained in helping patients get over their fears of surgery. Many know how to calm such individuals, and engage in relaxing banter before carrying out dental work with a patient, and are particularly gentle and thoughtful.
Many people find that certain types of music can be very calming and help them relax while they are in a dentist’s waiting room, and that music can also be helpful while they have work done on their teeth. Your dentist may supply soothing music, or they may encourage patients to bring music they find helps them feel more emotionally at ease with them to an appointment. Enquire and make suitable arrangements before going to the dentist surgery.
If you are afraid of going to the dentist it’s worth learning useful relaxation exercises you can utilize before, during and after visiting the dentist. Deep breathing from low down in your belly will help you. Especially if you make each breath slow and hold it for a second before releasing it and continuing the cycle.
If you are a visual person, that is you can easily picture things in your minds eye, it may help you to use your imagination to summon up a scenario whereby you see yourself successfully entering the dental practice and remaining calm as you sit in the dental chair, and throughout your appointment. As you picture visiting the dentist and being relaxed and positive, also breathe deeply. When it comes time to have a dental appointment you can continue visualizing in this way while in the waiting room.
Hypnotherapy and neuro-linguistic-programming
If you have a severe fear of the dentist you are likely to benefit from undergoing sessions with a hypnotherapist, trained in the art of NLP. A good hypnotherapist should be able to help you lessen, or completely overcome your anxiety, until you feel able to go to the dentist without your heart palpitating, your palms sweating and your mind racing uncomfortably.