Angst, anxiety, trepidation, dread, unease, worry, trembling, and aversion! All these words say the same thing: Fear! While some things we should, rightfully, be afraid of, but other times it can detour us from doing something that is vital. When skies becoming darkened by clouds and winds increase in intensity, the worry is indeed reasonable. If someone is bullying or intimidating, we would be quite right to feel unease, trepidation, and aversion and avoid such a person. When a loved one is ill and requires hospitalization then anxiety, angst, unease, trepidation is a reasonable response.
All such normal emotional fears in abnormal situations are usually resolved with common sense coping skills: getting off the street and to shelter in a storm, avoiding isolation with one who is intimidating or bullying, asking questions, listening to doctors with regards care, talking with friends and family who can provide compassionate listening and comfort; and for those of faith in a higher power, meditating and prayer can bring peace to one’s spirit.
However, when fear is the result of an abnormal situation, it is undoubtedly a healthy fear that will move a person to act for the good and thus to overcome their fear. When a condition is not abnormal but comes only because of a perception formed in the person’s mind; this would be labeled a phobia. One widespread phobia for up to 20% of the adult population is a dental phobia. Whether the dental phobia has any personal basis for the fear to be there or is wholly imagined; there are simple actions that can be done that will bring about some semblance of calm to the patient while in the dental chair.
1. Be an informed dental patient
Knowledge brings a sense of calm while ignorance does indeed bring along assumptions and wrong perceptions that foster dental anxiety. Do not be afraid to ask dentist the ‘what for’s’ and ‘why’s’ for what is being done, explaining each of the tools being worked with, and the types of anesthetic being used. Do not be afraid to ask these questions to your dentist. With their experience and training, they will happily explain each factor to help ease your fears.
2. Ask the dentist to explain procedures as he is working
Ask the dentist to verbally speak the step-by-steps of any process being performed in the treatment of your teeth. Knowing the progression of the procedure can help the patient to feel in control and a part of his or her treatment.
3. Be conscientious in self-care
The diligent and dutiful self-care of brushing twice daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush, flossing before bedtime, using a fluoride mouth rinse after cleaning and eating healthy fiber and calcium-rich foods as well as drinking water whenever possible is a great way to alleviate the fearful dread of a dental visit. Since the bi-annual routine dental check-ups are completed with little probing and poking, this is an opportune time to have the dentist begin doing this while at your appointments.
4. Bring a friend or relative along
Do not be afraid to ask your dentist if your friend or family member can sit in the examination room as the treatment is performed. Knowing there is someone familiar nearby can bring about a sense of peace and calmness.
By being open and honest with your dental professional, you can begin overcoming your fears, and they will be more than happy to help. Dentists see hundreds of patients every year, and plenty has the same worries you do. There is nothing to be ashamed about in voicing your anxiety. The dentist and their team are there not only to clean your teeth but help you understand the dental process and live a long healthy life.
Contact us today, and we can begin helping you overcome your worries and have a clean, healthy mouth in the process!