Dental anxiety, fear or phobia is more common than you might think. Some figures estimate that as many as 10% of people are afraid of the dentist! Here’s how you can ease your mind:
Acknowledge your fear
There are a number of reasons why people fear the dentist. It is important that you identify what you are afraid of, so that you can find a way to work through that fear. Common reasons why people fear going to the dentist include:
- Loss of control
Some people feel like they’re not in control of the situation when they lie back in one of our chairs, which can be very uncomfortable for some.
Pain avoidance is a natural human instinct, and is completely rational. Unpleasant experiences with a dentist in the past can affect how you approach going to the dentist in the future.
Some are embarrassed and anxious about having their teeth judged by the dentist.
- Kids fear the dentist
Children can often be scared of the dentist because it is a person and setting they aren’t familiar with. Read more here.
Let’s take a look at how we can try to remove or diminish these fears!
Feeling like this situation is out of your control is understandable, but it’s also irrational. In reality, the patient is always the person who is in control – you can take breaks or stop at any point! If you ever feel uncomfortable, you should communicate this to your dentist. Explain how you feel and what makes you feel that way, and your dentist will do their best to adapt and make you comfortable.
Avoiding the dentist out of fear of pain seems logical, but it is a surefire way of getting more pain and toothaches down the road. Getting regular check-up from your dentist the only way to allow them to prevent or repair small issues before they cause you big problems.
Previous experiences with dentists who try to guilt and shame us into better oral hygiene has left its mark on many people. This can lead us to feeling embarrassed about our teeth when we see a dentist. If you are the type of person to worry about this, you likely won’t be anywhere near the worst patients we’ve had. Besides – we’re here to help fix dental issues. It’s our job, and we love our jobs!
Keep in mind that nobody is born fearing the dentist: fear of the dentist is a learned behaviour, and kids learn from their parents. Make sure you are mindful of your choice of words and body language when talking to your children about going to the dentist. Make it a fun and pleasant experience for your little ones, and they will be excited to come back!
Above all else, we have two general tips that will help anyone who is uncomfortable when seeing one of our friendly team members:
- Let our team know if you are scared or worried about anything so that they can help you be comfortable.
- Tell us if you are uncomfortable with pain or injections, and we will adapt to your needs.
- Ask the dentist what the procedure will feel like. Some find it easier if they know what to expect.
- Focus on your breathing.
- Employ meditation techniques to calm your mind; breathe in for 3 seconds, hold your breath for 3 seconds, and exhale for 6 seconds. This activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which calms your nerves. Try it yourself!
All our dentists at Cairns Precision Dental Group are skilled in working with anxious patients and employ many techniques to ensure that your visit is a comfortable experience.