A terrible experience I had at the dentist when I was a child, meant that I dreaded and feared going in my later adult years. It’s amazing how the things that frighten us in our childhood follow us through to adulthood – even though we know that a dentist won’t hurt us and the work they’re doing is completely necessary and for our own good!
When I had children, I realised that I had to set a good example and the thought of passing on my fear of the dentist to my children is not something I wanted to do. So, I took action and faced my fears head on. I approached a dental practice that I’d seen and heard good things about like Docklands Dental and openly told them about my bad experiences. Little by little, I came around to the fact that my fears were unjustified and from then on, I was happy to go to my appointment every six months.
But not everyone can get over their fears so easily. Especially if they’re rooted deep-down. So, I’ve come up with a few hints and tips of how you can begin to face your dental fears and hopefully get you back in the dentists’ chair without a fight.
Choose the dentist that’s right for you
Don’t feel obliged to go to the same dentist you went to as a child, just because your mum knows them, doesn’t mean you have to feel obliged to give them your business. Search online, or head to social media, ask friends and other family about which practice they would recommend. Or alternatively, find a dental practice that specifically deals with nervous patients.
A great trick is to always book your appointments early in the morning. Why? Because then you don’t have all day to dwell on it. Slowly building up your anxiety and then giving yourself time to cancel. No. Get it over and done with. You can thank me later!
Your dentist won’t know to warn you about the noises his equipment is going to make if you don’t tell them that it’s a problem. Communication is key when it comes to tackling your fears. Speak to your dentist, let them know what it is that makes you feel so uncomfortable. You won’t be the first or the last patient to agree on a hand movement of gesture that signals your discomfort! The Vallance Dental Centre said they prefer patients to be open and upfront about any fear because it means they can take a different, softer approach.
Most dental practices will allow you to listen to music during your check-up, this may help you relax. Just make sure you let them know first!
Ask a friend or a family member to come with you – don’t ever feel embarrassed about asking!
Did you know that you can ask to be referred to a sedation clinic? If the idea of heading to the dentist is just too much, and your anxiety and fear is crippling you, then simply ask to be referred. Remember – the staff are there to help!