If the thought of going to the dentist makes your palms sweaty, and gives you a squeamish feeling, you are not alone. You are one of many Americans who have a fear of the dentist. Some people gain this fear due to a traumatic past dental procedure, while others just can't stomach the thought of sharp objects in their mouth. For some it is also disconcerting that they have to totally trust their dentist to manage their pain and keep them comfortable in regards to something so sensitive as their teeth.
The good news in all of this is that you don't have to let your fear of the dentist leave you with a mouth full of rotten teeth. If you follow the steps below, you can greatly reduce your dental anxiety, and make sure that your aren't skipping your dental check ups.
First, talk to your dentist. This step sounds simple, but can be very effective in relieving your anxiety. Explain to your dentist what it is that is making you worried. Talking to your dentist can help to reassure you that he or she knows what they are doing, and that they will be able to effectively manage your pain and discomfort. If your dentist doesn't listen or take you seriously, it is time to find a new dentist.
Have a game plan. In your discussion with your dentist, you could agree upon a signal, such as you raising your hand, that would let them know to stop what they are doing immediately. This way you have peace of mind in knowing that you have the control to stop what is going on if you are feeling pain or panic.
Take Baby Steps. Recognize that you don't have to take care of everything in one visit. You could schedule one appointment to simply talk to your dentist, and go over your fears with him or her. For your next appointment you could schedule a simple cleaning, then for your next one you could get X-rays. After easing back into the dentist in this way, you should be feeling more comfortable with taking care of bigger procedures, such as a root canal.
Bring a close family member or friend. Having someone you trust and love nearby can be a great anxiety reliever. Just knowing you have moral support and comfort can be enough to calm your nerves.
In cases of extreme fear of going to the dentist, a psychologist or counselor may be able to help you.
Using these steps to overcome your fear will help you be able to have regular dental visits, and keep those pearly-whites pearly and white! (For more information, contact Pinon Hills Dental)