Dentophobia: how to not be scared at the dentist

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Dentophobia is the fear of dentists and dental procedures. It's one of the most common phobias in the world, and it can severely impact people's lives. People with dentophobia may avoid going to the dentist altogether, which can lead to serious oral health problems. In this blog post, we’ll discuss ways to overcome dentophobia.

Dentophobia how to not be scared at the dentist

How I overcame my fear of the dentist… by facing it!

In some instances you can overcome the fear of the dentist yourself… that’s what I did!  I used to be absolutely terrified of the dentist after a bad experience as a child.

I had to have a tooth extracted, a baby tooth luckily, but the procedure went wrong somehow and what should have been a quick extraction turned into 45 minutes of them yanking the tooth out and seven injections.

As a primary school-aged child (I can’t remember my exact age), I was terrified and in agony!

It put me off the dentist for the rest of my childhood and into adulthood.  I did continue to see the dentist as a child, but often with tears running down my face as I was so scared.

As an adult, I chose not to go to the dentist as I still had the scary memory and the fear instilled.  This was stupid really as dental hygiene is so important.

However, this changed once I became pregnant with my first child.  I realised I could have a free NHS dentist appointment whilst pregnant.

I’d also noticed stains on the back of my teeth from being a previous smoker for a decade, but I didn’t know they were stains and thought I had rotted my teeth!

This was the push I needed to get to the dentist and have my first appointment in over ten years to check my teeth.

I decided that because I was having a baby and would be experiencing childbirth and all the other stuff that comes with it, if I could do that, then I could handle a dentist appointment!

So I booked an appointment and faced my fear.  Once I had decided I was going to do it and not be scared about it, I didn’t feel worried anymore.  I felt like I had taken control of my fear and made the decision mot to be scared anymore.

The dentist appointment was absolutely fine and my fear was gone.  Luckily, I hadn’t rotted my teeth as I was so worried about, but it was just staining which they were able to remove there and then.  Phew.

A few years later I even decided to have cosmetic dentistry having train track braces fitted for over two and a half years, then whitening, bridgework, bonding and allsorts to give me the perfectly straight smile.  Something I would never have imagined doing in my early twenties as I was so scared of the dentist!

Now it doesn’t bother me at all.  I’ve even turned down injections or numbing when I’ve been offered for smaller procedures like removing and replacing bonding.  The pain and discomfort doesn’t bother me any longer.

It’s sometimes amazing how facing your fear and realising it is completely irrational can fix it.

So what are the steps you can try to overcome your fear of the dentist?

Overcoming dentophobia how to take control and stop being afraid

1) First and foremost, it's important to understand that you're not alone;

Dentophobia is a very common phobia, and you can absolutely overcome it. There are many resources available to help you overcome your fear of dentists and dental procedures. There are online forums, support groups, and even therapy options available. 

You should reach out for help if you're feeling overwhelmed or struggling to cope on your own. It's also helpful to educate yourself about dental procedures so that you know what to expect ahead of time.

2) Another important step is to find a dentist that you trust;

One of the main reasons people have a fear of dentists is because they've had a bad experience in the past. Maybe they had a traumatic procedure like I did, or maybe they just didn't like their previous dentist. Whatever the case may be, it's important to find a new dentist that you feel comfortable with.

Ask your friends and family for recommendations, or look for reviews online. Once you've found a few potential options, schedule consultations so that you can meet the dentists and get a feel for their office and staff. It's also important to make sure that they're able to provide the services that you need.

3) Avoiding unnecessary discomfort;

One of the best ways to ease your anxiety about dental appointments is to avoid unnecessary discomfort. If you don't like the numbing gel, ask the dentist to use a different method. If you're afraid of needles, let them know so that they can use another type of anaesthesia. You should also feel free to ask questions and voice any concerns that you have.

Another way to ease your anxiety about dental appointments is to avoid serious problems. If you have a history of cavities, gum disease, or other dental issues, be sure to let your dentist know so that they can take extra care of you. 

And if you're particularly anxious about a certain procedure, ask them to walk you through it step-by-step so that you know what to expect. 

4) Finally, don't be afraid to ask for accommodations;

If you have a fear of dental procedures, it's important to communicate this to your dentist. They should be willing to work with you to make sure that you're comfortable and safe during your appointment. This may mean sedation options or taking extra time to explain what they're doing. 

Don't be afraid to speak up for yourself and ask for the accommodations that you need. Remember, you're in control of your own treatment, and you have the right to feel safe and comfortable during your appointments.

Final word

In conclusion, overcoming dentophobia is possible with the proper support and resources. If you or someone you know is struggling with a fear of dentists, reach out for help. There are many people who understand what you're going through and can offer guidance and support.  To have straight teeth with a beautiful smile is a dream of any person and with the right tools, you can take control of your anxiety and achieve your goals!


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