7 Ways to Conquer Your Fear of the Dentist
There’s a wonderful word which describes the smell of the earth after the rain - petrichor. While it sounds like a breed of extinct pterodactyl, in reality, it’s a combination of two Ancient Grecian words; petra and ichor. While petra means stone, ichor is the golden fluid flowing in the veins of the immortals, which is very evocative.
Odontophobia is also very evocative – of unadulterated, bone-melting fear of the dentist! It’s far more common than you might think. It occurs in people of all ages. The stark, white room, the bright lights, fingers in your mouth, the metal tube trying to suck out your soul, the high-pitched whine of the drill— we do understand. While a good bedside manner is important for doctors, an empathetic and professional chairside manner is even more important for dentists. It’s something we work very hard at achieving in every Team Dental surgery.
When people are afraid of the dentist, they tend to delay booking appointments. Irregular dental check-ups mean any issues your teeth may have won’t be picked up and dealt with early. As a result, when you do visit the dentist, the problem is that much worse. The work needed to fix it is also much more involved, and any potential pain is also increased. The more often you visit the dentist, and the better you care for your teeth between visits, the less often you will need anything more than a basic check-up.
But if you are afraid, what can you do about it? Here are 7 ways to lessen your own odontophobia.
7 Ways to conquer your fear of the dentist
1. First book a consultation
Don’t book a procedure, book a consultation. Meet with the dentist, explain your fear, ask questions – all those questions you’ve always wanted to ask a dentist but were too afraid to ask. We don’t want patients to be afraid of us so whatever we can do to ease your fear, we’re happy to help. One of the best ways to defeat your fear is building trust with your dentist.
2. Consider sleep dentistry
While we will work with patients to help them overcome their fear, for some people their fear is so extreme that they can’t even bring themselves to sit in the examination chair. For these patients, sleep dentistry, or general anaesthetic dentistry, may be an option.
3. Five other ways to lower your own anxiety
- Make an appointment during the quiet hours of the day when the surgery is less likely to be busy. The fewer patients, the fewer tools in operation.
- Bring noise-cancelling headphones or ear buds to listen to your favourite music.
- Practise deep breathing and relaxation techniques which you can activate while in the examination chair.
- Have an agreed-upon ‘break’ signal with your dentist.
- Remember, we’re here to help!
There’s no need to be afraid of the dentist, but if you are, let us know when you make an appointment. Team Dental will ensure your visit is as stress free as possible. Contact us on 0508 TEAM DENTAL