Somewhere between 12% and 25% of people suffer from a fear of the dentist, otherwise known as dentophobia or odontophobia.
There are many causes for this widely shared fear, but there are also many ways to make trips to the dentist’s office easier on anxious patients.
Talk about Your Nerves
Dentists see a lot of patients who experience anxiety in their office. Many have strategies in mind for those patients who dread their appointment. Knowing that you’re prone to nervousness in the dentist’s chair, the dentist and their team can work to help alleviate your anxiety.
Sharing your anxiety with friends or family can have multiple benefits. By letting someone know about your fears, you might find out you’re not alone, and your friends may have some helpful tips for you.
Filling in someone, like a significant other or close family member, can also help keep you accountable for going to the dentist regularly. Patients who experience dental anxiety often avoid check-ups, and don’t see their dentist until they have a serious problem. By the time they come back in, they may need more extensive (and stressful) treatments.
Need another reason to make your appointment? Find out why you should visit the dentist before the end of the year.
Cover Those Anxious Ears
Before you head to your next appointment, grab your headphones. In the waiting room, your favorite comedian or a funny podcast can help you loosen up and relax before going in.
A book on tape or soothing music can help ease your nerves in the chair. Just check with your dentist to make sure your headphones won’t get in the way!
This technique helps in two ways. First, you hear less of the tools, which can sound much more menacing than they really are. Second, music you enjoy or a good story can distract you from where you are. Use the narrator’s voice as something to focus on, instead of the unfamiliar sensations you’re experiencing.
Ask for Information
Oftentimes, the cause of dental anxiety is fear of the unknown. When a dentist is working on your teeth, you can’t see what they’re doing, and this adds another layer of stress for some people. Speak up if you’re feeling nervous and ask your dentist what they’re going to do. Even a simplified explanation might be enough to put your mind at ease.
If you think about it, it’s completely natural to be afraid of strange, pointy tools being aimed at your face. Dental tools can be intimidating in their looks alone, and even more so when you don’t know what they’re going to be used for. Ask your dentist what the different tools he has out will accomplish. Some dentists are willing to let you hold their tools to get a better look to decrease your anxiety.
Another great way to feel more comfortable at the dentist is to get to know the professionals working with you! A familiar face can make all the difference. Learn more about the GPS Dental team, or get to know Dr. Skrobanek. Then, give GPS dental a call to schedule your next dental visit at (210) 633-3477.