Hands up who is terrified of the dentist… I am, that’s for sure. I always have been and I was sure that I always would be, that was until I found myself a dentist who understands what having dental fear is like. Most people have a reason to be scared of the dentist, whereas I simply have an irrational fear and no reason for it.
Anyone with dental fear knows how scary a trip to the dentist can be. There’s that terrible feeling in your stomach – that fluttering feeling, like butterflies that won’t go away – you feel sick, and you sweat profusely. Even the idea of stepping through those doors scares you to your core.
Bearing all that in mind, how should you deal with dental problems when you suffer from anxiety? Should you bury your head in the sand and hope that the issue – whatever it may be – will go away, or should you be brave and make that appointment to see your dentist? The answer is that you should never bury your head in the sand – if you do the problem will only get worse.
I’ve always been terrified of the dentist, but I never leave a problem, I always get things sorted ASAP and you should too. Here’s how I deal with dental problems despite being scared of the dentist:
Book an early appointment
If I have to wait for a dental appointment, I get more and more wound up as the day goes on. So what I like to do is book an appointment for early in the morning – the earliest they have – as that way I get up, get dressed, and go, and have no time to get myself worked up into a state. One time I thought that I had an abscess as I had severe pain in one area of my mouth, so I made an appointment for 9 am the next day and didn’t give myself time to get worked up. It turned out it wasn’t an abscess, just a painful wisdom tooth, which was good to know.
Ask to have things dealt with there and then
A little hack I have for making dental problems less stressful to deal with is asking to have them done there and then. Of course, this isn’t always a possibility, but if there is time my dentist is always accommodating. Most of the time that fiance and I book a double appointment for the dentist and I go first, that way if anything is wrong I take his slot afterward to have it dealt with there and then, and he re-books. (He doesn’t mind as it means I don’t panic about the work I need done in the lead up to it.)
Tell the dentist you’re nervous
Whenever I need work doing (I’ve only ever had one filling and it was exploratory and turned out not to be needed), I tell the dentist how nervous I am. I’m lucky with my dentist, he understands how nervous I get, and he is always super considerate of my feelings. When I had to have an injection to numb my mouth, he even gave me numbing gel first, so that the injection was less painful. The fact is, every good dentist wants to make their patients feel at ease, which is why if you are nervous, it’s so important to tell them so.
Dental anxiety can be a real nightmare to live with, as it can make dealing with dental issues difficult. However, what it’s important to remember is that the sooner a dental problem is dealt with, the better, as that way it doesn’t have the chance to get any worse. Be brave and see your dentist, you will feel better for it – that’s a promise!