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5 Ways to Overcome Your Fear of the Dentist

5 Ways to Overcome Your Fear of the Dentist

Does the thought of visiting the dentist send you into a panic? You’re not alone. While it’s hard to get people to admit to it, some studies estimate that more than 70% of adults feel anxious about visiting the dentist. For some, this anxiety is much more pronounced; it manifests itself as an overwhelming fear, known as odontophobia.

Studies estimate that 1 in 10 adults experience a strong fear of dentists. Their fears are so strong that they actually avoid dentist visits. Dentist Dr. Jeremy Rourke, with over 25 years of experience, said in an interview: “Unfortunately, dental-phobia is something we see lead [to] thousands of dollars worth of care annually that could have been avoided if people came in more often.”

If you experience fear or anxiety when faced with the idea of going to the dentist, there’s good news for you. You can tackle the fear head-on for the benefit of your health. The following are some techniques and strategies to help you overcome your fear of the dentist:

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Acceptance

The first step in overcoming your anxiety is accepting it as normal. There is no reason for you to feel embarrassed. There are millions of people who experience the same anxiety.

It is also important to accept the fact that dental visits are necessary for maintaining your dental and overall health. Routine visits to the dentist are necessary to avoid, detect, and treat tooth decay, gum disease, and other serious conditions such as oral cancer. You can avoid extensive and invasive dental procedures by ensuring that you visit the dentist regularly to make sure that your teeth and gums are healthy.

Thinking along these lines will help calm your fear of your dental visits.

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Find a friendly dentist

Ensuring that you find the right dentist is a step in the right direction. Dentists are people, too. Visit the dentist and have a chat with them. Becoming familiar with your dentist will help you to develop trust, which in turn will help to reduce your levels of anxiety. It will also help you feel at ease with the dentist and make it easier to relax during the procedure.

Communicate your fears to your dentist. They will be better able to provide you with the care you require when they understand your anxieties.

Understand the Procedure

Knowledge is power. Understanding what the dental procedure involves will help you better prepare yourself for it. Many people experience fear of dentists because they do not know what to expect. Their anxieties are heightened by the fact that they are not in control of the procedure.

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Knowing what will happen beforehand helps to keep the anxieties at bay. Understanding what is being done and why it is being done will help you prepare mentally for the procedure. Try researching things like “does a root canal hurt” to get a sense of what you’re in for. Often you’ll find that the procedure is not as scary as you thought. Finding testimonials from dentists can also help.

Talk to your dentist about the procedure. Ask them what you should expect and how long it will take. Ask if the procedure can be carried out gradually. Having the procedure carried out in shorter and more manageable units may help in overcoming your anxieties.

Consider Sedation

More patients are opting for sedation as a means to overcome their anxiety of dental procedures. Sedation is a great option for those who suffer from severe anxieties. Sedation allows you to relax during the procedure with the help of a sedative that is administered orally, intravenously or as a gas (nitrous oxide, aka laughing gas). You may also opt for a combination of these.

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Sedation allows you to be awake but deeply relaxed. In many cases, you won’t have any memory of what happened during the procedure.

It is important to talk to your dentist and determine whether this is the best option for you. Ensure that you choose a dentist with experience in sedation dentistry if you’re thinking of this option.

Seek Support

You may need some support and help to quell your fears of the dentist. One way is to visit the dentist with a family member or friend you trust and who will give you emotional support. You’ll feel safer with someone you trust nearby. Having a familiar person nearby in an unfamiliar environment will go a long way in quelling your fears.

Your fears may also stem from something deeper. It’s therefore a good idea to seek some professional help as well. Seek a therapist or psychologist who is experienced in treating phobias and fears of different kinds. They will help you establish the source of your fears and provide you with methods of treatment that help you overcome them.

Ending Your Fear of the Dentist

Fear of the dentist is not unusual. It isn’t a laughing matter and you shouldn’t feel ashamed about it. It’s a real phobia that afflicts millions of people all over the world. However, avoiding the dentist is not the answer. Seek ways to face and overcome your fears for the sake of your health.

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Last Updated on April 8, 2020

Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

Assuming positive intent is an important contributor to quality of life.

Most people appreciate the dividends such a mindset produces in the realm of relationships. How can relationships flourish when you don’t assume intentions that may or may not be there? And how their partner can become an easier person to be around as a result of such a shift? Less appreciated in the GTD world, however, is the productivity aspect of this “assume positive intent” perspective.

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Most of us are guilty of letting our minds get distracted, our energy sapped, or our harmony compromised by thinking about what others woulda, coulda, shoulda.  How we got wronged by someone else.  How a friend could have been more respectful.  How a family member could have been less selfish.

However, once we evolve to understanding the folly of this mindset, we feel freer and we become more productive professionally due to the minimization of unhelpful, distracting thoughts.

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The leap happens when we realize two things:

  1. The self serving benefit from giving others the benefit of the doubt.
  2. The logic inherent in the assumption that others either have many things going on in their lives paving the way for misunderstandings.

Needless to say, this mindset does not mean that we ought to not confront people that are creating havoc in our world.  There are times when we need to call someone out for inflicting harm in our personal lives or the lives of others.

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Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of Pepsi, says it best in an interview with Fortune magazine:

My father was an absolutely wonderful human being. From ecent emailhim I learned to always assume positive intent. Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent. You will be amazed at how your whole approach to a person or problem becomes very different. When you assume negative intent, you’re angry. If you take away that anger and assume positive intent, you will be amazed. Your emotional quotient goes up because you are no longer almost random in your response. You don’t get defensive. You don’t scream. You are trying to understand and listen because at your basic core you are saying, ‘Maybe they are saying something to me that I’m not hearing.’ So ‘assume positive intent’ has been a huge piece of advice for me.

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In business, sometimes in the heat of the moment, people say things. You can either misconstrue what they’re saying and assume they are trying to put you down, or you can say, ‘Wait a minute. Let me really get behind what they are saying to understand whether they’re reacting because they’re hurt, upset, confused, or they don’t understand what it is I’ve asked them to do.’ If you react from a negative perspective – because you didn’t like the way they reacted – then it just becomes two negatives fighting each other. But when you assume positive intent, I think often what happens is the other person says, ‘Hey, wait a minute, maybe I’m wrong in reacting the way I do because this person is really making an effort.

“Assume positive intent” is definitely a top quality of life’s best practice among the people I have met so far. The reasons are obvious. It will make you feel better, your relationships will thrive and it’s an approach more greatly aligned with reality.  But less understood is how such a shift in mindset brings your professional game to a different level.

Not only does such a shift make you more likable to your colleagues, but it also unleashes your talents further through a more focused, less distracted mind.

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Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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