For many, going to the dentist is a terrifying prospect. According to Harvard Health, 13% to 24% of people around the world have a fear of the dentist. Because of their phobia, some avoid going to the dentist altogether; however, this can lead to bigger problems as certain conditions can grow from bad to worse if left unchecked so, if you want to keep healthy teeth, going to the dentist for treatment in such cases is a necessity. If you need a dentist but are unsure about what to do, here are some general tips for conquering dental anxiety.
1. Talk about your fear
The first and most important step is communication. Telling your dentist about your fears reveals vital information they can use to cater to your needs as some dentists specialize in helping patients overcome anxiety by employing non-threatening body language and using words of encouragement. Your dentist should be willing to listen without judgment. Talk to your dentist about ways to communicate discomfort or pain before undergoing a procedure. It also helps to get to know your dentist and the other staff around the office. Communication is necessary to ease anxieties by building a relationship of trust and respect between you and your dentist.
2. Take it slow
Diving in headfirst can be an overwhelming experience depending on the severity of the fear, but walking at your own pace gives you control. Start somewhere simple, such as a regular tooth cleaning, and climb your way up the ladder to cavities and beyond. Consult with your dentist on the best appointment days so you can have plenty of time to take breaks should you feel uneasy. The key is to relax. Always remember that you do not have to do anything you are uncomfortable with and overcoming dental anxiety is a process that involves patience; little is gained by rushing in before you are ready.
There are many useful websites, guides and self-help groups devoted to combating dental anxiety. In addition to practical wisdom, you may find information about treatment plans that include medication, sedation and even hypnosis. The best launch pad for research is to ask your dentist. If you want to understand how a dental procedure works, they can explain the steps involved before and during treatment. Dentists can also provide more noninvasive remedies depending on the particular fear as advancements in dental technology have allowed for the use of tools like numbing gel in place of traditional syringes, and nitrous oxide (laughing gas) can calm severe nervousness.
Dentists Waikoloa is a group of professionally certified dental practitioners led by Dr. Brian S. Kubo in Waikoloa, Hawaii. Dr. Kubo has been serving patients across Hawaii since 1993. For more information, call 808-885-8465 to schedule an appointment.