Afraid to go to the dentist? You’re not alone. Dentophobia, or fear of dentists, is a common phobia among people of all ages. It is sometimes related to iatrophobia, or fear of doctors, as well as trypanophobia, or fear of needles. Dentophobia may be mild or severe, and can eventually lead to devastating consequences.
Reasons for this fear vary from fear of needles to prohibitive costs. Some people don’t like being examined so closely. Others shudder at the sound of a drill. Still others dread the possibility of receiving bad news.
If there’s ever a time to conquer your fear, it’s the New Year. Make it your resolution to schedule that long-overdue appointment. Here are some pointers to make it happen:
It’s not as painful as you think. In fact, many fearful patients who brave their dental visit find it’s not painful at all. The toothache you may develop from a lingering cavity will likely hurt a lot more!
It’s okay to take a break. It may be hard to talk when a dental instrument is in your mouth, but an experienced dentist knows how to listen for your cues. Raise your hand if you feel uncomfortable and request a break if needed.
Get comfortable. Bring your favorite music to distract yourself on the chair. Bringing someone you trust to the appointment can also help you feel more relaxed.
Learn more beforehand. Talking to your dentist face to face, not from the patient’s chair, may help you to overcome misconceptions that feed your fear.
Consider sedation dentistry. For extensive procedures, this may be a good option for you. Sedation isn’t limited to the use of general anesthesia. Nitrous oxide and oral conscious sedation help nervous patients relax through the entire procedure while they are awake.
You may not be the only one in the house who’s due for a dental appointment. If your child’s first tooth has erupted, it’s time to schedule their first visit!
The pediatric dentists at Alameda Pediatric Dentistry have specialized knowledge on working with nervous, active, special needs, and young children. We’ll help ensure they develop a positive attitude about going to the dentist from the age of one, and many of our patients ultimately look forward to coming to see us!