Overcoming dental phobia is a very common problem. It strikes most people at one time or another. Unfortunately, a severe phobia can make some people reluctant to have important preventative dental work done.
There is no reason to let your fear stand in your way; once you can identify and address it, you can free yourself from it for good.
Many people feel self-conscious about having this kind of fear, but it is nothing to be embarrassed about. In fact, there are many practices today specializing in gentle dental care for sensitive patients. But going to the dentist doesn't have to be stressful; you can have a relaxed, pain free experience if you follow a few simple steps.
First, always remember that as the patient, you are in charge of what happens to you. A big part of dental phobia is being intimidated by the dentist because he or she is a professional. That may be true, but you are still the paying customer and it is your mouth.
Therefore, you can shop around for a dentist that you feel comfortable with and you always have the option of stopping a visit should you feel you can't handle it.
Look around your area and see what kind of dental services are available. Some dentists cater directly to phobic patients. Go and look at the office, meet the dentist and hygienist before you have an actual exam to see how the environment makes you feel. This can make a world of difference for anxious patients.
Pain is the root of the problem for most people, but dental science has advanced to a point that most procedures are pain free. For extremely tense patients, some dentists will provide nitrous oxide as a form of gentle dental anesthetic.
Some dentists will even prescribe a tranquilizer to take before your visit. The combination of a pre-visit tranquilizer and the use of nitrous oxide will almost guarantee that you'll have no pain.
You can also use other methods to help calm yourself, including relaxation tapes or simply listening to music. Many dentists even provide headphones or allow the use of your iPod so that you can listen to your favorite tunes during the procedure.
If you need a careful explanation of what's happening to make you feel better, let your dentist know and he or she can guide you through the procedure.
Taking a friend or loved one with you for moral support is also very helpful and may be necessary if you are using nitrous oxide or pre-visit tranquilizers.
Make sure whomever you bring understands your dental phobia and can help make the whole experience more tolerable. You can even treat yourself to a shopping spree or a movie or something else as a reward for getting through the visit.
A fear of the dentist is nothing to be ashamed of, it happens to many people and most dentists are used to dealing with it. Don't let your fear get the better of you, shop around for a dentist you can feel comfortable with and then work together with him or her to make your visits more pleasant and less stressful.
With the right approach, you can get that dental care you need and feel better about yourself to boot!
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