Overcoming dental anxiety: It’s not as difficult as you think
Dental anxiety, fear, and phobia is so common that, according to Health Central, as many as 15 percent of all adults avoid seeing the dentist no matter what kind of pain they are in. At its most intense, a dental phobia may compromise your health and even your life by preventing you from receiving the dental care you need.
Learn what to do to conquer your dental phobia so you can safeguard your own health.
7 common dental phobias
While there are many reasons why you may be suffering from dental anxiety, these are the most common fears that can become full-blown phobias.
- Fear of the unknown.
- Fear of dental equipment (drills, etc.)
- Having a sensitive “gag reflex.”
- Fear of the dentist him or herself.
- Fear of loud noises.
- Feeling uncomfortable or out of control while in the dentist’s chair.
- Difficulty or inability to breathe through the nose while having dental work done.
Overcome your fear
Breaking through a phobia can require more effort than dealing with mild anxiety or even fear, but this does not mean you cannot do it if you put your mind to it! According to a recent study, here are the most effective strategies to overturn fear or phobia of visiting the dentist. These strategies are considered to be “adaptive coping strategies,” which means you can customize them as needed for best results.
- Self-efficacy. Self-efficacy can be achieved with positive self-talk. For instance, remind yourself that you are in control.
- Self-distraction. Self-distraction may take different forms during different parts of your dental visit. For instance, while in the chair, you can repeat a reassuring phrase, sign a familiar thought or dream of a favorite place.
- Distancing. Imagine yourself somewhere else. This can be in the form of visualizations or problem-solving.
- Optimism. Optimism is all about mindset and believing in a positive outcome.
- Prayer. You can use whatever form of prayer works best.
With the help of these simple tricks, there’s a good chance you can overcome your dental phobia and regain control of your own dental health. If your fear is very ingrained, you may need extra help. Dental sedation has been used successfully to help nervous patients undergo dental treatment. If you would like to learn more about dental sedation, please download my free e-book.