The subject of dental phobia is one that really doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Contrary to popular belief, millions of adults and children of all ages share the same mortal fear of the dentist’s chair. Nevertheless, there remains a certain degree of taboo and embarrassment about it all, which really could do with being removed from the equation.
Of course, avoiding the dentist for an entire lifetime just isn’t a realistic option. Even armed with the most effective water flosser on the market and a premium electric toothbrush, sooner or later you are going to need expert advice and support. It’s a foregone conclusion, which is precisely why it makes sense to bring these kinds of fears out into the open. After all, it’s far better to tackle them proactively than to simply live an entire life in fear.
So assuming you have already made the bold step of booking yourself an appointment, how can you ensure that things go as smoothly and painlessly as possible?
Well, first of all you really should congratulate yourself for two things. One of which being accepting and acknowledging your fear, the other being your courage to make the appointment. Then again, as the days tick by between now and then, it’s natural that you’ll be dealing with quite a lot of anxiety.
On the plus side, there are various ways and means by which you can make the whole thing so much more bearable.
The following examples representing a good place to start:
- Distract Yourself
First of all, the worst thing you can do between now and then is to simply spend your time dwelling on it all and thinking about what’s to come. The simple fact of the matter is that regardless of how much you dwell on it and worry about it, it isn’t actually going to make any difference whatsoever in practical terms. While it may be easier said than done, it’s important to keep yourself as entertained and positively distracted as possible at all times. The less time you have to think about what it is that worrying you, the less time you will have to worry and the less daunting the prospect will seem as a result. Make no mistake about it – boredom is your worst enemy.
- Be Open
Under no circumstances should you simply swallow your pride and pretend you aren’t terrified about the prospect of visiting the dentist. The reason being that in doing so, all these fears will simply bubble up inside you and intensify along the way. When chatting with friends and family members, be as open and honest as possible about your concerns. Not only does sharing concerns significantly help in its own right, but you might be surprised just how reassuring those around you can be in these kinds of times.
- Pay a Visit
If you haven’t been to the dentist in quite a long time, the very prospect of walking through the door can be no less than terrifying. As such, you might want to think about getting these first-time nerves out of the way before the actual day of the appointment itself. One of the best things you can do to help bring your nerves under control is to pay a visit to the dentist with which you have made your appointment, at some point prior to the appointment itself. If necessary, as many times as you like. The reason being that the more comfortable you become with the sights, sounds, smells and indeed the staff who work in the office, the less terrifying it will be at the time of your appointment. After all, it’s difficult to maintain the same kinds of fears when you get to know your dentist on a personal level and find them to be incredibly understanding and friendly.
- Do Your Homework
If you are making an appointment having acknowledged that you need some kind of dental procedure, doing your homework as to how it all happens can be surprisingly reassuring. Contrary to popular belief, simply turning up without a clue what’s going to take place can make each and every step of the process debilitatingly terrifying. By contrast, when you know exactly what happens and how it happens, you aren’t in a position to receive any surprises. Not only this, but anyone who has not been to a dentist in some time might be surprised to learn just how far things have come over recent years. The kinds of things that used to be scary and unpleasant are now so routine they’re of no concern whatsoever.
- Look After Yourself
When dealing with any kind of stressful situation, it’s important to look after yourself to the highest possible extent. This includes things like ensuring you exercise regularly, eat properly, get plenty of sleep, minimise alcohol consumption and so on. The reason being that there is a direct correlation between physical and mental health. Or to put it another way, you only stand to make yourself increasingly stressed and anxious if you do not keep yourself in the best shape possible. It can be tempting to simply ‘let yourself go’ during these kinds of difficult times. But in reality, you should in fact be looking to do the exact opposite.
- Assume Control
Last but not least, dental phobia is often attributed to a feeling of lost control. Nevertheless, what’s important to remember is that no matter what happens at any time, it is you and you alone who remains in control. While it’s unlikely to happen, try to remember that you are perfectly within your rights to stand up and walk out at any time. You can tell the dentist to stop if you feel uncomfortable, refuse any treatment they recommend and at no time you have to do anything you are not comfortable with doing. It’s surprising how different the whole experience becomes just as soon as you realise that it is in fact YOU that’s in control, as opposed to the dentist. As you are a paying customer, things happen on your terms and your terms alone – it really is as simple as that!