6 Tips to Help You Overcome Your Fear of Visiting the Dentist
Odontophobia is an overwhelming fear or phobia of dentistry. It is a very common fear among children, but it also affects many adults. In fact, it is one of the main reasons why the majority of the population does not go to the dentist. To help you overcome Odontophobia, we have a few tips from the GUM team:
- Communicate! It sounds simple, but it’s something we often forget to do. Talk to your dental professional about your fears and let him or her know what is triggering your fears. Perhaps there is an event in the past that impacted you negatively. Talking to your dental professional about it can help them better help you. Your best interest is their best interest too.
- Choose a dentist based on soft and hard skills: Feeling comfortable in the dentist's chair is essential to overcoming odontophobia. That means his or her soft skills are as important as their professional expertise. A dentist with confidence is understanding, considerate of how you feel, and someone who can communicate with a simple, straightforward language. This will help generate a trusting environment in which you feel comfortable, making it easier for you to overcome your phobia.
- Create a “dental habit”: It is much easier to face going to the dentist when you have a dental routine. We recommend creating a habit of twice yearly visits and to make it easy. The GUM team suggests planning your visits in anticipation of a favorite time of year, such as before a summer break or before the holidays. We also recommend already booking your next appointment before you leave the dentist’s office.
- Create Calm: One of the biggest obstacles on the road to overcoming Odontophobia is our nerves. A lack of sleep can increase nervousness, so the night before your appointment, try to get to bed earlier than usual, or at least at a reasonable time. Arrive a few minutes in advance of your appointment and bring your headphones! Tune into a favorite playlist while you’re waiting for your appointment and let your mind wander to another place.
- Go for the Tech! Technological advances in recent years have paved the way for incredible improvements and evolution in dental techniques. The chances that you will feel pain today during a cleaning or even more serious intervention are very low. Make inquiries about the technology your dentist uses to a help with positive patient experiences and pain management.
- Conscious sedation: If none of the above help, do some research on conscious sedation, an intravenous technique that has no side effects. Your dentist may suggest other methods of sedation to make your visit as comfortable as possible.
Don’t delay, call your dentist today.
Fear is counterproductive and acts against your best interests. We hope these ideas can help you take a step forward to overcome your odontophobia.
For many people, it’s easier to find a reason not to go to the dentist than to pick up the phone and make an appointment. But when you already feel pain, procrastination can be harmful to your oral health; a simple toothache can turn into something far more serious.
If you feel you need additional support, reach out to a friend, family, a dental professional, or look for a support group in your area.