Did you know that an estimated nearly seventy five percent of adults in the United States experience some amount of fear with regards to visiting a dentist? Thus, if you fear going to the dentist, know you’re not alone. About five to ten percent of those people have a strong enough fear to be considered sufferers of dentophobia. Luckily, you can ease your dental experience by finding ways to cope with your fear. Keep reading for some advice about coping with dentophobia from Dr. Laurie McNamara McClatchey and Dr. James A. McNamara at McNamara Orthodontics.
Don’t Be Afraid to Speak Up – There is Nothing to Fear Here!
First, it is important to note that your dentist is not trying to be scary. They have no intentions to cause you any pain or discomfort. Their goal is to keep you and your teeth happy and healthy! Dentists also have to go through many years of schooling before they are allowed to practice dentistry. Thus, they are extremely qualified experts in their field. Additionally, your dentist doesn’t want your visit to be a traumatic or anxiety-inducing experience. If you simply communicate your feelings to them, they will do whatever they can to help make your visit better.
Ways to Cope and Ease Anxiety
Relaxation techniques can be used to diminish fear while at the dentist. Deep breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, and guided imagery can help a patient to relax while in the dentist’s chair. Additionally, speaking with your dentist prior to the appointment and having them explain the procedures calmly can help prevent fear of the unknown.
In some cases, medication can be used. This can vary from mild sedatives to general anesthesia. Laughing gas is often used to soothe a nervous patient. A dentist may even prescribe anxiety medication such as Valium or Xanax prior to a procedure.
You should never be ashamed or afraid to speak up about fearing the dentist. Dentists are here to help and want you to have a good experience with them. Over time, you can work together to ease your anxiety and lessen your fear of the dentist! Please feel free to contact our office with any questions and let us know how we can help.