How to overcome your fear of the dentist

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The health of our teeth and gums is vital for our overall wellbeing and yet many people avoid going to the dentist because of nerves and anxiety. If you are one of those who suffers from a fear of the dentist, it’s important not to let it prevent you from attending regular checkups – otherwise you might find yourself in pain and needing more serious treatment. So here are some top tips .overcoming dental anxiety

Let the dentist know you’re nervous

Dentists are nice people and fully understand that some of their patients get anxious when coming to see them. Tell him or her how you feel so that they will be better able to help you. For example you can agree on a signal to stop at any moment and take frequent breaks if you need to. You could even try sedation dentistry with a dentist such as Shawnessy Dental, which can help you to relax more during treatment.

Understand your fear

Working out exactly why you’re afraid of going to the dentist can be a big help, because you can then start to apply rational logic to your emotions. For example, perhaps the tools and treatments that you’re afraid of are ones dentists don’t even use any more or that won’t be used during a routine checkup.

Bring a friend with you

If you find yourself avoiding going to the dentist, ask a friend who doesn’t share your fear to come with you for moral support. Not only will they ensure you go, most dentists will allow them to accompany you throughout the appointment if you wish. That way they can keep you calm or distract you with conversation.

Listen to music in the chair

For many people, the noise of a dentist’s office is one of the most scary parts about going. To combat this, trying wearing noise cancelling headphones during your checkup or treatment and listening to your favorite music or a podcast instead. Not only will it block out the noise, it will also help to distract you.

Try relaxation techniques

Meditation, breathing exercises and other relaxation techniques can all be extremely helpful at slowing your heart rate and reducing anxiety. Try sequentially tensing and relaxing different muscle groups or follow a meditation track from an app like Headspace. Controlled breathing – when you take in a slow, deep breath, hold it for a moment and then exhale slowly – can also work wonders.

Visit a psychologist

If you try to follow some anxiety reducing tips like the ones above an realise that you are struggling with a fully developed dental phobia, then it might be beneficial to go and see a psychologist for some professional help. They will be able to use a range tested techniques to assist you.

Reward yourself

Once you’ve finally managed to pluck up the courage and face your fears, be sure to reward yourself afterwards! Having something to look forward to after your appointment will also motivate you to go – just make sure it’s not a sugary treat or you’ll undo all the good work you’ve done!