*A collaborative post //
As many as 1 in 4 of us dread going to the dentist. It may because of a bad childhood experience, the smells or the sounds, the fear of pain or for some people it’s a feeling of complete helplessness while someone is poking and prodding around your teeth!
The good news is that more and more dentists, like Docklands Dental located near Dublin, are trained and more sympathetic to those patients with phobias. With a combination of techniques, kindness and gentleness even you can head to the dentist and keep your oral health in check!
Here you’ll find a few tips and on how to tackle your dental phobia and keep it under control.
Ways to ease your dental fear
- Find an understanding dentist. Ask friends and family if they can recommend one or look for someone who advertises themselves as an expert with anxious patients. Search for your local dentists here.
- Once you’ve found someone you think may be suitable, visit the surgery to have a look around, meet the receptionist and dentist and see the environment. Tell the dentist that you’re anxious so they know beforehand.
- Pick an appointment time early in the morning so you have less time to dwell on it.
- The first appointment will simply be a check-up so don’t worry that you’ll be launched into having a filling, the drill or a needle. See this first visit as your chance to get to know the dentist.
- Take a friend with you to your appointment. The dentist won’t mind if they accompany you throughout the check-up or treatment.
- Agree a sign with the dentist to signal that you need a break and want them to stop. It can be as simple as pointing your finger, and will help you feel more in control.
- If you think it will help, start gradually with a clean and polish then work up to more extensive treatment once you’ve built up trust and rapport with your dentist.
- Take a personal stereo with you to listen to music during your visit. It will help you relax.
Have you considered a sedation clinic? If you’re extremely nervous, ask your dentist to refer you to an NHS sedation clinic. These clinics are specifically for nervous dental patients.
Some people find simple inhalation sedation very helpful to relax them for dental treatment. This is a bit like gas and air given during childbirth, but instead of being delivered through a mask it comes through a nosepiece.
If you’re extremely nervous you may prefer intravenous sedation (through an injection into your hand or arm) during treatment. The drugs won’t send you to sleep – you’ll be awake and able to talk to the dentist – but they’ll calm and relax you so deeply you probably won’t remember much of what happened.
Hypnotherapy is also a good option if you really want to get to the bottom of your dental phobia.