It’s no joke that some people are afraid of going to the dentist. There’s even a word for this fear: dentophobia. It can prevent you from getting preventive care, diagnostic tests, or restorative treatments, all of which are vital in maintaining good oral health. If you suffer from dentophobia, what can you do so that you’re able to visit your general dentist?
The first step is educating yourself about the process. Fear of the unknown may be what’s stopping you from visiting the dentist. Schedule an appointment, get a tour of the office, ask about the equipment being used, and learn about common procedures. Take the time to meet the dentist and staff so that you can obtain a comfort level with the caregivers.
If knowledge isn’t enough to ease your dental fears, ask our general dentist about medications available that will allow you to successfully get treatment without having too much anxiety. Sedation dentistry is offered by many general dentists today, which offers various levels of sedation. Nitrous oxide (or laughing gas), oral medications, or even general anesthesia are often available depending on your needs and concerns.
Many dental offices provide relaxation aids to make patients more comfortable. These may include listening to music through headphones, watching videos, lap blankets to increase comfort, and more. You might also want to invite a friend or family member along as a source of support throughout your appointment. Consider rewarding yourself after a successful appointment by going to lunch afterwards or treating yourself to a favorite item like ice cream or a pedicure.
If your dentophobia still isn’t controlled with these techniques, a professional psychologist may be able to suggest breathing techniques or other relaxation methods to help. Sometimes identifying the root of your fears can help you overcome them as well. The main thing is to figure out a way to be able to visit your general dentist and get the care you need for a healthier smile.
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