To many Americans there’s nothing more terrifying than a visit to their dentist. It’s estimated that 75% of people living in the United States suffer from some sort of dental fear, which is commonly known as dental phobia. Many people even claim that just the noise from a dental drill triggers anxiety and dread leaving them shaking in their boots. But what brings on this visceral response? For many, they might have had a bad experience first hand, such as not enough numbing during a procedure, but for others, the fear is simply a direct result of hearing dentist-gone-wrong exposes from friends or the media. Here’s a list of how to ease dental phobia and make the experience pleasurable.
Distract yourself – What do most people do in any uncomfortable situation? They have a distraction planned out. Don’t be nervous about having a family member or friend sit in the office with you during your dental appointment. Sometimes having a little moral support can go a long way, and people close to you will be happy to support your healthy teeth habits. Also, in this age of technology, don’t forget to fully charge your tablet, smartphone or iPod and bring them along. Listening to your favorite relaxing tunes or even watching a chunk of your favorite movie on your iPad while in the dental chair can distract you from the actual reason you’re there.
Treatments – Dental phobia can be treated just like any other anxiety based fear, similar to being scared of the dark. There are chemical and natural ways to limit the direction of the fear. For example, people who suffer greatly can visit a therapist to discuss the situation and how to move forward with dental procedures. Talk therapy is often a good option for those wiling to put in the time an effort to figuring out the root of the problem. It’s also well documented that learning basic relaxation techniques, such as rhythmic breathing, can help relieve dental phobias. For people with a little bit more stress, there is always the option of sedation dentistry. This is a great option for those who cannot stand seeing the dental tools or have a bad gag reflex. In these situations, the physician will perform the entire procedure or cleaning while you are under a type of anesthesia. Dentists often use nitrous ox
ide, which is inhaled through a mask over your nose and mouth. Ultimately, it is crucial to work with your dentist to find the right combination.
Find the right dentist – It might sound simple, but not every dentist is created equal and finding the right match for you will make going to their office so much easier. Everyone spends time researching the best restaurants so why not spend the same time finding a reputable dentist to care for your mouth. To find the best of the best, you can use the tools set up by TopDentists.com. Through the end of September site visitors will rank their dentists and a third party will tabulate the results, to rank the top 100 dentists in the United States. Those selected will be posted by the end of the year. Using online tools like this one, or even word of mouth, will help you find the right match for who should take care of your teeth. It’s important to have someone that you not only trust, but is an expert in their field as they will be able to best cater to your needs.
Guest Blogger: Shoshana Davis writes for Top Dentists and other health lifestyle sites.