Dental fears or anxieties are genuine for some people. Dental fears often stem from a bad experience in a dentist’s chair. Laying prone with someone leaning over you, placing you in a position where you may find it difficult to talk or respond, can seem unpleasant and leave some people feeling like they are not in control.
While a bad experience may be the most common reason for fear, other reasons people say may include:
- Fear what my dentist will say about my oral hygiene and the humiliation I will feel.
- Fear of the unknown.
- Fear of the dental equipment.
- Sensitive gag reflex.
- Fear of loud noises.
- The dentist seems ominous.
- Feeling uncomfortable lying back in a dentist’s chair.
- Unable to breathe through the nose.
- I’m worried the treatment will be painful.
- I have a phobia of needles.
- Fear the dentist will not stop when I’m distressed or in pain.
- Fear the dentist will carry out unnecessary treatment.
- Fear the dentist will treat me as a set of teeth, not as a person, and will be cold and uncaring.
HOW TO OVERCOME YOUR DENTAL FEARS
One of the best ways to begin overcoming a dental fear may be to find the right dentist for you. An experienced dentist who understands patient fear management will:
- Return your feeling of control.
- Treat you as a partner, explaining what is about to happen, how this may feel, and how long the procedure will take.
- Frequently check in with you about how you are going and ask permission to continue.
- Allow you to stop the procedure anytime if you feel uncomfortable by giving you a signal to use, such as raising your right hand.
- Give you breaks.
Once you find a dentist you feel comfortable with, you may like to try the following tips:
- Talk very openly about your fears with the dentist. A good dentist will take your concerns very seriously.
- Have a friend or relative sit with you during your treatment.
- Ask the dentist if you can listen to the music of your choice during your visit to help distract you.
- Practice relaxation techniques before and during the appointment.
- Ask your dentist about sedation.
- If your fear is so bad that you cannot bring yourself to go to the dentist, you may want to consider some counselling sessions to help you through your fears.
At Ian Gurner Dental Care, we understand that some patients come to us with a fear of visiting the dentist. We prioritise that all our clients have the best possible experience and do our utmost to make each visit as relaxed as possible.
To learn more, visit our Dental Anxiety webpage. To request an appointment with us call (03) 6231 3645.