Almost three quarters of all Americans have some degree of fear when it comes to visiting the dentist ranging from mildly afraid to utterly terrified. It is estimated that 5-10% are so scared that they will avoid the dental as much as they can. Many others will only go to a dentist if the situation is an emergency where the toothache pain has become unbearable. Dental health is important to your overall health so overcoming your fear of the dentist is important. Here are some tips to help make going to the dentist less traumatic.
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There are lots of dentist that work with patients that are terrified, they will often work with a therapist to help reduce your anxiety, these types of practices can be hard to find. There is also the option of sedation dentistry where you are sedated for any and all procedures, this type of dental clinic is more common and you can probably get sedation dentistry nearby.
There are techniques that dentists use to constantly reassure a patient in order to keep them calm. This reassurance can come in the form of praise, letting the patient know that everything is going well. Some dentists will outline the procedure in easy to understand language, they will let the patient know what to expect such as letting them know which machines are noisy and what sensations that they can expect to feel.
There are other behavioral modification techniques that are used to treat anxiety that can be used to make the dental visit easier. You can practice some deep breathing exercises along with mindfulness. You can use visualization techniques where you imagine yourself in your happy place. Lastly you can use desensitization techniques, where you gradually overcome your fear. This is what psychologists use to overcome phobias and fear of the dentist is just another phobia. Here are some of these techniques in action.
Some dental clinics that work with patients with fear will change the office to make it less clinical and more comfortable. The staff may wear regular clothes rather than uniforms. There will be softer lighting and soothing music or even a television to help make patients feel more relaxed.
Your oral health is as important as any other aspect of your wellness routine so overcoming your fear of the dentist is part and parcel of being healthy. Work with a dentist that understands and will help you overcome this fear. It will be a lot easier in the long run.