Overcome Dental Phobia & Start Smiling Again

Your teeth are an important part of your health, and need to be taken care of - but fear can get in the way. I've recently finished months of dental treatment, as mentioned in this post. The reason I had to get so much work done was, you guessed it, fear of the dentist. I know a lot of friends who are also afraid of seeing the dentist, even if they are in a lot of pain.

It makes perfect sense to be afraid of the dentist. Much of the time spent at the dentist is nerve-wracking, even for the most confident of us. Being in the dentist’s chair can undoubtedly be one of those experiences which haunt you, and that is true for everyone to varying degrees.

If you feel that you have developed something of a complex about visiting the dentist, then it’s best to do something about it. Because this phobia stopping you from seeing your dentist regularly enough ends up in worsening the condition of your teeth. Just like I did. Full disclosure: I got three {!} root canals done and at least 6 {or was it 7? I lost count} fillings. Trust me, you don't want to be in my place.

So what can you do to overcome your dental fear, and learn to love your mouth again?

Understand The Cause

All fears are borne of something, as irrational as the logic behind them might be. Arachnophobia might be a simple case of an evolutionary-based (and perfectly reasonable) fear becoming a little too pronounced. In the case of the dentist, it might be helpful to spend some time trying to determine what might have led to your fear. Did you have a particularly harrowing experience at the hands of a grumpy old clinician when you were young? Have you inherited some fear from your parents? Whatever it might be, getting to the bottom of the real ‘root’ cause is bound to help you overcome the phobia itself.

Use Your Rational Mind

The nature of fears is such that, while we are in the grip of them, we surrender our rationality. This is perfectly understandable, of course, but not entirely useful when trying to rid yourself of the fears in question. By making a determined effort to use your rational mind when you start experiencing the feeling of fear, you can slowly and surely start to win out over that feeling.

Remind yourself that the dentist is, by all accounts, actually a perfectly safe place to be. The experience is never as bad as you think it will be, and you will be looked after. You don’t even have to worry about pain: dentists use all manner of tools from xylocaine gel to general anaesthetic to stop you experiencing discomfort.

For me personally, deep breathing and meditating in the dentist's chair helped. I just try and focus on the spot slightly above and between my eyes. Some dentists even play soothing classical music. Focusing on the music will help you take your mind off of what's happening in your mouth. Or you can wear headphones and listen to your own music.

Choose Your Dentist Wisely

It’s true: some dentists are a little more intimidating than others. So if you know that you have a real dental phobia, and you want to make sure that you get your teeth checked anyway, you can think about choosing your dentist a little more carefully. With a little online research, you should be able to discover in a matter of minutes several dentists in your area who specifically market themselves towards ‘nervous’ patients. Starting with those friendlier dentists might be all you need to do to finally overcome your fear.

Although these are simple and small steps, together they should be enough to help you to get back on the road of looking after your teeth. We all know that oral health is essential, so this is not the kind of thing you want to delay for too long, trust me.

Until next time

Shabana Feroze

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