About five percent of people have severe dental fear, according to researchers from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. Those researchers found five strategies that people use to get over their fear of the dentist; their findings are published in the journal Acta Odontologica Scandinavica.
Of course, the best way to avoid having to have scary procedures done at the dentist is to practice prevention. If you know that you’re someone who’s afraid of the dentist, it would best serve you to be hyper-vigilant about taking care of your teeth to make sure there’s less for them [the dentists] to do.
Here are some common things that people are afraid of during a dental visit, and what you and the dentist can do to help soothe those fears:
- The fear of the unknown
- If you are a new patient, the dentist can help by not jumping right into the cleaning or dental procedure in the first visit. Instead, they should sit with the new patient in their office — with the door open, so there’s no feelings of claustrophobia — just to talk, so the patient can get to know them first. People with milder dental phobia can also ask to meet with their dentist first to help calm their dental anxiety. While not all dentists may not have the luxury of time to be able to do this, it’s worth asking a dentist before scheduling an appointment if you think it will help you feel more at ease.
- Dental equipment fear
- Sometimes the hardest part of going to the doctor is looking at all of the equipment, all the sharp, metallic, scary items can cause physical anxiety. What can help a patient is holding the tools, and asking what all of them does. This way your brain understands what is going on, and how they work.
- Loud noises
- We all know, or have heard, the sounds of a dentist working on your mouth. Even though the procedure may be minimally invasive, or not at all, the sounds may be deafening. One way to help this is to bring earplugs. That way the noises will be cancelled or muted, and your procedure will feel more comfortable.
- Not being able to breathe out of your nose
- Though most of us breathe out of our nose, in times of high stress, we resort to breathing out of our mouths to get the adequate oxygen you need for your body to function. This is a problem when you do not have the ability to breathe out of your mouth if there is work being done. One simple remedy is to use a nose breathing strip that will open your nasal passageways and give you the ability to breathe easier.
Dr. Mark Washburn understands that dental anxiety is a real thing, and is here to help you combat those fears. Our calm, relaxed approach to dental procedures will make you feel at ease when you come into the office. If you are nervous at all, please let us know, and we will do anything that we can to help ease your fears. Contact us today to set up an appointment or consultation.