Fear of the dentist? How to overcome your dental phobia

Millions of Americans put off dental appointments because of a dental phobia. Fortunately, it’s possible to overcome your phobia and get the dental care you need.

If you’re nervous about — or downright fearful of — visiting the dentist, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans put off dental appointments because of a dental phobia.

Unfortunately, skipping those dental checkups is taking a gamble with your health. You could be putting yourself at risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and even conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers by letting your oral health go unchecked.

Are you struggling with dental phobia? Consider finding a dentist who uses the DentalVibe Comfort Injection System.

Fortunately, it’s possible to overcome your dental phobia and get the dental care you need. Take these steps to deal with your dental fears and find a dental practice that will get you smiling again.

Acknowledge and accept your fear

It’s not unusual to be afraid of the dentist. Many people are nervous about dental appointments and may make excuses for not seeing their dentist such as, “I’m too busy,” or, “I don’t have any dental problems.”

The first step in moving forward is to come to terms with your fear, and recognize that it’s standing in the way of your best oral health. Many people simply feel vulnerable while sitting in a dentist’s chair, and that’s completely normal.

Once you’ve accepted that the fear is present and normal, you can start to consider ways you can deal with and overcome the issue.

Think about the origins of your fear

Many people have a fear of the dentist for very specific reasons. Maybe you had a bad experience with a dental visit as a child, or you once had a painful dental procedure. Perhaps your parent or sibling was afraid of the dentist and their fear was instilled in you.

No matter what the cause, getting to the root of the fear can help you put it behind you. Once you realize what is causing your fear, you can learn to control it by telling yourself that the fear doesn’t apply anymore. That dentist who scared you as a child isn’t the same dentist you see today. Or, just because you once had a painful dental procedure, that doesn’t mean your dentist can’t work with you now to make sure your experience is as pain-free as possible.

Communicate openly with your dentist

Be open with your dentist and their office staff about your fear of needles. Let the know the origins of your fear so that they can respond appropriately. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. Many dental professionals are happy to be transparent and explain every step of a dental procedure. You might also want to agree on a hand signal to indicate when you are becoming distressed during a procedure and need a break.

You might also want to consider making pre-treatment conditioning appointments with your dentist. Pre-treatment conditioning is sort of like counseling, but it’s also about creating positive associations with sitting in the dental chair. In these appointments, you simply sit in the dental chair and talk in a relaxed manner about your oral health history and perhaps take x-rays. It also gives you an opportunity to consult your dentist and hygienist about other ways they could reduce the stress of the dental visit. These meetings help you re-program the anxious associations you have about being present in the dental office environment.

Learn coping techniques

If you tend to feel anxiety while you’re at the dentist, practice some strategies and techniques that you can put to use in the dental chair. Practice deep breathing or ask your dentist if you can listen to relaxing music during your appointment. Prior to your appointment, make sure you get a good night’s sleep and avoid caffeine to help calm your nerves.

Get the treatment you need for medical conditions

Anxiety and panic disorders are legitimate health issues that require treatment from a doctor. If you think you may have a medical condition that is making your dental fear worse, you deserve to get proper treatment so you can live your life in the most productive way — and that includes getting the dental care you need to have a healthy, beautiful smile.

Find a dentist who can accommodate your needs

Many dentists today are in tune with dental phobia and are prepared to help patients feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible. To find a dentist who specializes in treating patients with dental anxiety, ask around for recommendations, and browse websites and social media pages of practices in your area. Call a handful of dental offices that interest you, and ask how they deal with dental anxiety and nervous patients.

Look for a dentist who uses the DentalVibe Comfort Injection System

You may wish to find a dentist who uses the DentalVibe Comfort Injection System, which can eliminate injection pain and take this prominent fear-inducing factor out of the equation. DentalVibe technology allows you to relax and have a comfortable and positive dental experience.

Don’t let dental fear compromise your health. Find a dentist who uses the DentalVibe Comfort Injection System so you can eliminate fear of injections and get the beautiful smile you deserve.

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