Fear of the Dentist? How to Relax
Dentistry has come a long way from the days where pain was a normal occurrence after a dental appointment. Thanks to modern technology, many dental cleanings and procedures are virtually painless. Yet there is still a fear of the dentist that can be connected to the pre-modern dentistry era. Baby boomers seem to have a higher occurrence of dental phobia. Older adults may not have benefitted from the widespread use of fluoride, which these days, helps keep people out of the dental chair. It’s likely that Baby Boomers have many more cavities than their children and grandchildren. While dental phobia is very real, it is important to see a dentist at least once a year, even if you’re nervous about a visit. If the health implications aren’t enough to help you defeat your dental dread, the following tips may assist you in overcoming your anxiety: 1. Realize that your fear can be overcome. Fear is a learned behavior; therefore, it can be unlearned. 2. Never be embarrassed. Millions of Americans share this same fear, so you shouldn’t feel silly discussing your anxiety. 3. Find a dentist who understands your fears and who will help you feel comfortable. Talk to family and friends about their dentist to see if their dentist might be a good match for you. 4. Schedule your dental appointment during a time when you aren’t rushed or under pressure. 5. Find a distraction. For example, bring a portable audio player so you can listen to music during your visit. This will also help drown out the sound of the drill, whether it’s being used on you or in the room across the hall. 6. If your anxiety is extreme, talk to your dentist about pain control medications and sedation dentistry. So now will you please make an appointment to see your dentist? If he or she understands the anxiety you’re facing, it is easier to do something to help you feel more comfortable.