It is a well-known fact, around the world, that Americans care about the way their teeth look. The problem is that many people harbor fears of dental offices. Other people around the country do not have the right insurance and cannot afford to get the dental care services they need. It has been estimated that there are three people who do not have dental insurance for each one that has it. Family dentistry experts have these tips for getting over your fear:
- Acknowledge the fear you feel. It is impossible to rid yourself of any phobia until to acknowledge you have it. Some people find it easier to write down their fears. That can help them talk about the fear in a way that helps them lessen it. This can also help you look why the phobia developed.
- Talk to a few dentists. The people who work at family dentistry clinics understand that people are scared when they come in for their cleanings and check-ups. Before you settle on one dentist, you can talk to a few and see which one you feel the most comfortable going to.
- Tell the staff and dentist about your fear. Again, people who work in family dentists know that a lot of people are scared. There are a lot of reasons for this fear. If you are open and honest about your fears and any reasons you think you have them, all of the dental professionals can work with you to make the experience better. If your fear is based on a bad experience, they can help you deal with that. There have been a lot of advancements in family dentistry over the last few years so there may be new ways to help you. The dental staff can explain these to you.
- Go to the dentist more often. It is recommended, by the American Dental Association, that people go in and have a cleaning and check-up every six months. Most people who are afraid of dentists do not do this. The irony is that the more times you visit the dental office and have a good experience, the more evidence you gather that a trip to the office does not have to be painful or scary. This can help you work on reducing and eliminating your fear.
- Have someone go with you. Family dentistry experts say that bringing a trusted friend or family member with you when you go for your appointments can make the experience easier. Just talking with someone you like and trust can go a long way to easing your mind and taking it off what scares you. Make sure the person who goes with you is not also terrified of the dentist. That can make things worse!
- Ask about your sedation options. Knowing how many people are scared to go to the dentist, many dental practices offer different levels of sedation. Some offer IV sedation for almost everything from deep cleanings to more invasive procedures. If you ask the dental staff, they can give you an idea of what your options are and what might be the best for you.
- Try controlled breathing exercises. If you are nervous, there are a lot of ways you can reduce your anxiety level with simple breathing exercises. One good one is to breath in through your nose for a count of four, hold the breath for a count of seven, and exhale for a count of eight. This can lower your heart rate and relax your body.
- Talk to a professional. There are a lot of good reasons to seek out the help of a mental health professional. When it comes to dealing with any phobias, from the fear of heights, serial killers, or dentists, a professional can help you work with it and free you from its grip.
- Do something good for yourself after your dental appointments. This can actually help you look forward to your dental appointments. Maybe after you go to your cleaning, you treat yourself to a salon service such as a facial or massage.
Good oral health can really improve your overall health so getting rid of your fear of dentists can help you live longer and happier.