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8 Steps to Eliminating Your Fear of Going to the Dentist

Learn how common dental fear really is, and how to overcome it.

A lot of people fear the dentist, and the fear often stems from the routine visits they had during childhood – visits that weren’t always as pleasant. 

Dental fear appears to be one of the most underestimated phobias. Studies show that there are many people that don’t go to the dentist because of fear. It’s not so hard to understand that many are scared of sharp instruments being put into their mouth. Feeling dental fear is in other words quite normal.

In this article, we will look at 8 of the best ways to cure your fear of going to the dentist. 

  1. GO TO A DENTIST YOU FEEL IS NICE

It’s important that you have good personal chemistry with your dentist. Being open about your fear makes it easier for your dentist to know how to approach their meeting with you. Dentists with modern equipment also make the discomfort of treatment feel less severe. 

  1. BE OPEN ABOUT YOUR FEAR OF NEEDLES 

Tell the dentist about your fear of needles. Most dentists are aware that many fear just this, and will take it into account if local anesthetics are needed. 

Tannlegene Prestegaard & Aadalen, one of the most widely used dental centers in Sarpsborg, Norway, takes in a lot of customers who are afraid of needles. Dentist Harald Prestegaard says that if people would only be more open about their fears, he and the other dentists would be much better able to make the visit more comfortable. Dealing with a fearful patient requires a different approach than dealing with one who doesn’t have any fear. 

  1. LOCAL ANESTHETICS

All patients have the right to choose not to get anesthetics, but I recommend not being categorical on this. The teeth and gums consist of thousands of tiny and sensitive nerves, and we have all felt icing in our teeth, for example when eating something cold.

Local anesthetics make sure that the injected area is numb, and that you don’t feel any pain during treatment, other than vibrations or movements from the instruments that are being used. In addition, it may also be wise to try this: 

  • Learn ways to relax (yoga and meditation can be great ways to distract your thoughts).
  • Only go to your favorite dentist.
  • Several types of numbing gels are now in the market. Ask your dentist to try whichever one suits you. 
  1. DON’T PUT OFF THE VISIT 

Go to your dentist regularly, don’t put off a scheduled appointment, and take action when you feel discomfort or pain. Postponements lead to bad mouth hygiene, something which will force you to go to the dentist in time anyway. 

After each visit to the dentist, you should: 

  • Heed their advice about how to maintain good dental health
  • Brush your teeth regularly, ideally after each meal, but at least two times a day
  • Avoid sweets

If you experience a loose tooth or plumb, you have to seek out your dentist so that no infections arise. Playing with the tongue around a loose tooth will in any case lead to the need to seek out the dentist.

  1. RELAX

No, you’re not going to die from an anesthetic syringe! Relax and think about how such an injection is meant to make you calm – not trigger your phobia. Local anesthetics are completely safe and loses their effect after 4-6 hours. Remember to tell the dentist about your fear, so that you will be extra well taken care of. 

  1. BRING A BABBLING FRIEND 

Babbling friends can be a perfect distraction method to bring to the dentist. With talk and laughter, it’s easier to move the thoughts away from what’s happening in the mouth. 

  1. SEEK OUT PROFESSIONAL HELP FOR YOUR ANXIETY PROBLEM

Anxiety may be triggered by past traumatic incidents. If you feel that needles or the dental visit itself remind you of a previous uncomfortable situation, perhaps you should consider seeking professional help. Visiting professionals may help you find the cause of your anxiety and treat the trauma. 

  1. FAMILY MEMBERS / FRIENDS THAT HELP 

Involve family members and friends in your dental phobia. They know you and can perhaps team up with your dentist to help you process your fear of dentists, and lower reactions linked to your dental fear. 

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Written by Geir Kristiansen

My name is Geir Kristiansen. I have the last 20 years worked in Norways biggest newspapers writing content and creating interview pieces. Writing about pretty much anything that readers find interesting. Now I work freelance! Looking forward to joining Influencive and contributing with high quality content.

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