Don’t Fear the Dentist – 5 Coping Skills to Overcome Your Anxiety

A wise woman said, “Fear has a large shadow, but he himself is small”.

Around 8% of Americans don’t go to the dentist out of fear. This fear attributes to four things that stop them from entering a dental clinic, which include embarrassment over their dental hygiene, the feeling of losing control when lying vulnerable in the chair, past experience and lastly pain.

The fear slowly turns into panic, which forces them to take different tactics just to avoid going to the dentist. Typically, these people visit the dentist when their oral hygiene worsens to the point, where they can’t speak or eat without any pain.

If you can overcome these four fears, then the fear itself will look so small that it won’t have a hold on you. Following are five coping skills that you should try and learn to overcome your fear, when you next visit the dentist:

1.     Admit to Yourself There’s a Problem

The first step is to recognize your fear. What do you fear? Write it all down on a piece of paper and read each line out loud. This will help you explain to your dentist what phobia you have and he will make sure that your first experience goes well. Moreover, listing  your fears will help you recognize which ones are insignificant. Remember, it’s all in your mind! The moment you overcome the fear, you won’t feel any anxiety while visiting the dentist.

2.     Bring a Companion

The best way to overcome the fear of going to a dentist is to bring a friend with you who can offer moral support. Better yet, the day you book the appointment, spend some time with your friend and tell them about your fears. Allow them to bring you to ease about the appointment, so that when the time comes to visit the dentist, you will be stress-free and less anxious.

3.     Bring a Distraction

A distraction can be anything from listening to songs, squeezing a stress ball or going for a walk. Do whatever feels best and helps you ease into the chair.

4.     Practice Relaxation Techniques

When lying in the dentist chair, let all that tension drain from your body by meditating for a few minutes. One of the best relaxation techniques is to breathe. Take a few deep breaths in and then breathe out slowly. Repeat this for a few minutes and then relax your muscles. By the time the dentist will bring the first tool near your mouth, you will feel calm and collected in the chair.

5.     Ask Your Doctor for Sedatives

If your doctor agrees that you can have a sedative during a dental procedure, then go for it. Afraid of needles? You have other options too such as oral sedatives and nitrous oxide (laughing gas). Either one of these will help you calm down and will prevent any mishaps in the chair.

The one thing that you need to train your brain with is all that fear is just a figment of your imagination. Try to learn these five skills and you will see that you are more prepared before a visit to the dentist. Once you conquer the fear in the first appointment, other appointments will be a walk in the park.