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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 May 15, 2019

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

As it appears, the human mind is not capable of not thinking, at least on the subconscious level. Our mind is always occupied by thoughts, whether we want to or not, and they influence our every action.

“Happiness cannot come from without, it comes from within.” – Helen Keller

When we are still children, our thoughts seem to be purely positive. Have you ever been around a 4-year old who doesn’t like a painting he or she drew? I haven’t. Instead, I see glee, exciting and pride in children’s eyes. But as the years go by, we clutter our mind with doubts, fears and self-deprecating thoughts.

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Just imagine then how much we limit ourselves in every aspect of our lives if we give negative thoughts too much power! We’ll never go after that job we’ve always wanted because our nay-saying thoughts make us doubt our abilities. We’ll never ask that person we like out on a date because we always think we’re not good enough.

We’ll never risk quitting our job in order to pursue the life and the work of our dreams because we can’t get over our mental barrier that insists we’re too weak, too unimportant and too dumb. We’ll never lose those pounds that risk our health because we believe we’re not capable of pushing our limits. We’ll never be able to fully see our inner potential because we simply don’t dare to question the voices in our head.

But enough is enough! It’s time to stop these limiting beliefs and come to a place of sanity, love and excitement about life, work and ourselves.

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So…how exactly are we to achieve that?

It’s not as hard as it may seem; you just have to practice, practice, practice. Here are a few ideas on how you can get started.

1. Learn to substitute every negative thought with a positive one.

Every time a negative thought crawls into your mind, replace it with a positive thought. It’s just like someone writes a phrase you don’t like on a blackboard and then you get up, erase it and write something much more to your liking.

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2. See the positive side of every situation, even when you are surrounded by pure negativity.

This one is a bit harder to put into practice, which does not mean it’s impossible.

You can find positivity in everything by mentally holding on to something positive, whether this be family, friends, your faith, nature, someone’s sparkling eyes or whatever other glimmer of beauty. If you seek it, you will find it.

3. At least once a day, take a moment and think of 5 things you are grateful for.

This will lighten your mood and give you some perspective of what is really important in life and how many blessings surround you already.

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4. Change the mental images you allow to enter your mind.

How you see yourself and your surroundings make a huge difference to your thinking. It is like watching a DVD that saddens and frustrates you, completely pulling you down. Eject that old DVD, throw it away and insert a new, better, more hopeful one instead.

So, instead of dwelling on dark, negative thoughts, consciously build and focus on positive, light and colorful images, thoughts and situations in your mind a few times a day.

If you are persistent and keep on working on yourself, your mind will automatically reject its negative thoughts and welcome the positive ones.

And remember: You are (or will become) what you think you are. This is reason enough to be proactive about whatever is going on in your head.

Featured photo credit: Kyaw Tun via unsplash.com

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