For millions of Australians dental anxiety is a real problem. But, dental fear can mean more than just avoiding your dentist. Some patients may have panic attacks at the mere thought of a needle or dentist’s drill due to long-standing trauma that they have held onto for many years. If you feel traumatised by any element of a dental procedure you should consider discussing it with a professional.
While it may be too soon to suggest a dentist, a mental health practitioner can help to delve deeper into yourself to understand why and how it has developed. To help you prepare, we have put some tips together that may assist you to learn how to get over the fear of dentist.
Why Do Some People Have Dental Anxiety?
Having dental anxiety is nothing to be ashamed of and it is often the result of some kind of trauma that may – or may not – have involved a dental situation. For some patients, it began when they were children: a botched procedure, not using anaesthetic or even something less obvious that relates to not being in control of or trusting in the environment.
Why It’s Important To Overcome Dental Fear
Dental health is connected to your overall health and well-being and avoiding dental visits and procedures will compound any issues. By avoiding your dentist, a small problem can turn into a bigger problem that costs more and takes longer to resolve. But getting over dental fear is easier said than done, we realise.
Our Tips To Overcome Dental Anxiety
If possible schedule an appointment with a mental health expert or therapist who can talk to you about why you feel dental fear. It’s possible that you have repressed trauma that needs to be healed and a therapist can assist you with a strategy to overcome it.
One technique, called exposure therapy, is designed to help you manage dental anxiety by getting used to seeing the dentist. It might start with a phone call and a friendly chat so you can understand that the staff in the practice want to help you. From there you might progress to an appointment where no dental work is done but you get used to sitting in the chair and feeling comfortable in the presence of your dentist.
How To Get Over Fear Of Dentist: Managing Dental Fear One Step At A Time
Once you have identified how and why you have dental anxiety, you can start putting an action plan together. This might include
- Wearing noise-cancelling headphones during treatment if the sounds of dental instruments cause you dental fear.
- Having someone you trust accompany you to your appointment.
- Making your appointment during a quiet time if you are easily overwhelmed.
- Speaking to your dentist (when you are ready) about sedation dentistry if you need a procedure. You do not have to be conscious for dental procedures and a compassionate dentist will offer you IV sedation if you need it.
Our friendly team can help you learn how to get over the fear of dentist. Please contact us for a chat; we’d love to hear from you: (02) 4210 9078.
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