If the thought of a visit to the dentist gives you sweaty palms, you’re not alone! Up to 80% of people experience a fear of the dentist. This can vary from feeling slightly anxious to severe dental phobia. Going to the dentist is unavoidable, so how can you overcome your fear of the dentist to make your next visit a little less stressful? Here are some helpful tricks you can try.
Find A Dentist You Trust
Finding a dentist you trust can play a major role in how anxious you feel during your dental appointments. The best way to find a good dentist is by recommendation. Find a dentist you are comfortable with and that understands your fears. Trust needs to be built up over time. So for your first appointment, only book in for an examination. It will give you a chance to meet the dentist and discuss your fears. At the next appointment, you could get a clean which will allow you to get used to being in the dentist’s chair and further build your trust in the dentist.
Understand That Dental Fears Are Normal
Being in a dental chair does put you in a vulnerable position. You aren’t in control and you aren’t always aware of what’s going on, so it’s understandable that you are fearful. Fear of the dentist often stems from a fear of needles, a bad experience as a child, or simply the fear of not being in control.
Book An Early Appointment
There’s nothing worse than worrying about going to the dentist for the whole day. Book an appointment early in the morning, so you don’t have a chance to stress about your dental visit. It will also mean your dentist is more likely to be running on time, so you can avoid that nervous wait in the dental office.
Take Something To Keep You Distracted
A good book can help calm your nerves whilst you’re in the waiting room. While you are in the dental chair, it may be helpful to hold onto a stress ball to relieve some tension. If your dentist doesn’t mind, you could listen to your iPod during longer procedures.
Take Deep Breaths And Wiggle Your Toes
Concentrate on taking slow, deep breaths to make you feel calmer. Deep breaths from your stomach can prevent you from having an anxiety attack. It may sound silly, but wiggling your toes can help a great deal. It’s a great distraction to help you avoid concentrating on what’s happening in your mouth.
Take A Friend With You To Calm Your Nerves
Taking a friend or family member with you to your dental appointments can serve as a good distraction and a calming influence. Make sure your friend doesn’t have a fear of dentists, or it may be unhelpful to bring them along.
Treat Yourself After Your Dental Appointment
Treat yourself to a massage to reward yourself after your dental appointment. It will also help you associate dental appointments with something you enjoy. Overcoming your dental anxiety is a big thing, so you deserve a reward!