One in four people is afraid to visit the dentist, according to data from the public health system. And it’s not just about children.
This fear can respond to several motivations: the fear that the treatment will hurt, the panic to the needles or the rejection of the sounds and smells of the dental clinic, which can bring bad memories of childhood.
“In general, it’s a softer experience, of course you still have the smells and sounds of a dental clinic, but everything is more discreet than before, with instruments that are not in sight and relaxing music in the background. ”
On the other hand many dentists now understand better the fears of the patients and can attenuate their stress with a kind and delicate treatment.
In addition, advances in technology have transformed the methods of the industry, which can now offer completely painless treatments.
Still, here are 8 tips to help you overcome the anxiety of going to the dentist.
Find a comprehensive dentist
You can ask your friends and acquaintances or look specifically for a professional who specializes in patients with anxiety.
Visit the clinic before the first consultation
Before asking for your first appointment, visit the clinic, meet the receptionist and the dentist and see what the environment is like. You can also inform them of your anxiety or phobia so they can take it into account for your future visits.
Some of these tips can also help children establish a normal relationship with dentists from a very young age.
Choose an appointment early in the morning
So you will have less time to think about your phobia and accumulate anxiety during the day
Do not arrive early for your appointment
Try to arrive at the scheduled time so you do not have to wait at the clinic. In the waiting room you can feel more anxious about the sounds and smells.
Plan a “soft” first date
Do not get involved in, endodontic and anesthesia. The first visit can be a review or a clean-up, and you can take advantage of it as a way to get to know your dentist a little more in a totally anxiety-free visit. When you feel more comfortable you can proceed to make more complicated treatments.
Agree on a signal to notify you that you feel uncomfortable
You can agree with your dentist on a specific signal to indicate that you need a break and you want it to stop. It can be simply pointing with your finger or raising your hand but it will make you feel more in control.
Take your own music to relax and distract yourself
Do not forget your headphones and your favorite music to relax or be abstracted while the dentist does his work. Time will pass much faster and you probably will not hear the sounds that generate anxiety so much.
Finally, if you have a serious phobia, explore the possibility of sedation
If going to the dentist generates extreme anxiety you can explore the possibility of sedation.
Nowadays it is possible to do treatments totally pain free. A local cream on the gums can make you feel no anesthetic injection.
But there are also modern anesthesia systems with a “dental magic wand” that looks like a pen and administers the anesthesia so slowly that the patient does not notice it.
In addition there is sedation by inhalation that can be very useful to relax during the dental procedure. It is an option similar to the “gas of laughter” that is administered through the mouth to women who give birth, but in this case through the nose.
Finally, if the phobia is severe and the patient wishes, there is also intravenous sedation during treatment, through the hand or arm. Anesthesia does not have to put you to sleep, you can stay awake and talk to the dentist, but they will relax you so deeply that you probably do not remember well what happened.