The first thing to be aware of is that you are not alone- more than half of all patients are anxious about visiting the dentist and 12% of people suffer from extreme dental anxiety. We are used to and comfortable helping anxious patients.
You cannot let fear of the dentist stopping you coming- the simplest, cheapest and best way to avoid fear inducing treatments is regular visits to the dentist and maintaining a good diet and oral hygiene.
The basis for most people’s fear of the dentist is a bad previous experience but rest assured that dentists of the 21st century are more sympathetic and understanding than the terrifying ‘school dentists’ of the past. We've listed some tips below to help increase your comfort with dentists, please feel free to share these with anyone who might feel this way!
1) Find a dentist you are comfortable with and trust.
This is the biggest factor in making yourself at ease and working through your anxiety, if you have a good rapport with your dentist you might even find yourself enjoying future visits…
2) Your first visit will never include anything more invasive or intimidating than an examination and possibly x rays.
You need not be worried about anything too exciting and at this visit everything that you need doing will be explained and nothing will ever be done without your consent.
3) A good way to acclimatise yourself to dentistry is to begin with simple straightforward things and work up from there.
For example, if you need a simple filling or a clean, do this initially and when you are more comfortable and familiar with your dentist and the environment, move onto any extractions or other complex treatments if required.
4) If you need a break or have any questions during your treatment all you need to do is put a hand up.
This will signal to your dentist to stop and give you a breather should you need it.
5) Anaesthetics are very effective nowadays and nothing you have done should ever be painful - don’t worry about pain
If anything does feel uncomfortable at any point just let the dentist know and they can numb you up further.
6) If you still struggle to tolerate the dentist there are additional things that can be done to put you at ease.
Treatments such as sedation, where you are given a sedative to put you at ease while you are receiving treatment. If you do receive this however you will need to have a lift home afterwards and will probably need to take the day off work.
The most important thing to remember is that everything your dentist is doing is to help you and we are here to make your life better. If you leave things untreated you are just storing problems for the future when they might be even harder to fix. So book an appointment and try not to worry - we will look after you!