Many people are terrified of visiting the dentist – either through negative personal experiences they may have had in the past, or just a fear of being exposed and vulnerable in the environment of the dental chair.
Fortunately the dentist is a very different place than it was in the past – many are geared up specifically for treating nervous patients, and the more equal relationship between patient and treatment provider means you can easily ask for special considerations to be made for you. Here’s just a few:
If going into the treatment room alone fills you full of fear, you can actually ask to bring a friend or family member in with you to hold your hand or just reassure you with their presence.
Down out the Din:
Does the sound of a dental drill set your teeth on edge? Then simply bring in your personal music deice and headphones – studies show that listening to your favourite music can reduce anxiety by up to 90%, and it may help block out sounds like drilling that trigger your fear.
Share Your Feelings:
Make sure your dentist knows that you are afraid, as a skilled and caring profession, dentists are trained to do everything they can to put you at your ease, and will go gently and stop to make sure you’re doing okay throughout your treatment.
Many dentists have viewing screens on the ceiling, allowing you to lose yourself in a nature documentary or your favourite show – some even have virtual reality headsets! Do your research and see if you can find a dentist who has these audio visual distractions on their surgery
If all else fails, a large number of dentists also specialise in the use of dental sedatives – these can range from a simple sedative to take away your sense of anxiety but leave you awake (although you are unlikely to remember anything about the treatment afterwards), to rendering you completely unconscious for the procedure. The last option is an extreme one however, general anaesthetic like this is not usually recommended unless absolutely necessary. Also whether it is a full anaesthetic or just a sedative, you will need a friend or family member to drive or accompany you home afterwards as you may still be groggy for several hours after you leave.