It’s a Wednesday night and you’re having dinner. As you chew you hear an odd noise and realise you are chewing on something other than the forkful of spinach you just put in your mouth. You realise that your tooth has broken. Do you (a.) calmly call your dentist (who if you’re lucky enough has a 24 hour service) and make an appointment for the next day or do you (b.) start clamming up and pretend that you are fine and hope that the tooth will either fall out all together or magically grow back. Both options are fine with you, just as long as you don’t have to go to the dreaded dentist?
Now if you answered with option a, I’ll be honest this post probably isn’t for you. You are one of the very lucky people who has a dentist you can trust and you have little to no fear about getting in the chair and having your tooth fixed. In fact the scariest part is having to tell your boss that you need to nip out and get your tooth fixed!
If you answered with option b then this is just for you. This post is all about dental phobias and anxiety. Hopefully as you read through this you may come across an example that is reminiscent of your own situation and maybe will even help you to start alleviating your fear.
There are many reasons that you might be scared of the dentist. For some it is that a bad experience in the past has caused anxiety. For some it is a fear of needles or drilling. Many people find that their phobia lies in feeling like they have a lack of control whilst in the chair. Combined with those and many other reasons are also anxiety ‘triggers’. These triggers can widely vary; for some the smells associated with the dentist are enough to send them into a hot flap. Another common trigger is the sounds that some of the treatments carry with them. For some it can even be the taste of toothpaste or even an advert for mouthwash that will send them into a frenzy.
Are any of these sounding familiar?
If so the first thing you need to remember is that you are not alone in your fear. Many people in your position are embarrassed about their dental anxieties and feel alone and won’t talk about it. You only need to do a couple of minutes of searching online to find some great support sites and stories of how people just like you went from sweaty palms at the mere thought of the dentist to being regular attenders with healthy smiles.
Now everyone has their own journey and story about how they got to where they are but the most common factor in each story is that they found a dentist who understands. Dentists who are truly passionate about what they do got into dentistry for one main reason….to help people. These professionals understand that you may carry anxiety from past experiences and are dedicated to finding a solution that you are comfortable with.
Not only that but in their spare time they study new techniques and gadgets to ensure that your visits are pain free and eventually anxiety free. And it’s not just the dentist themselves, more often than not the passion from a dentist like this rubs off on the rest of their team and they work together to make you more comfortable. Some have a Smile Advisor or a coordinator who is with you through each step of your treatment and will often meet with you before you even go near that dreaded chair to start looking at tactics and methods to help reduce your stress and anxiety levels whilst having treatment.
Only you will know what works for you, for some it’s music others relaxation can be achieved through smells and the use of scented candles or essential oils. For some it is just the knowledge that their dentist will listen to them. Not just listen about their toothache but about their fears, about their family, about their lives. Often the fact that you are seen as a person and not a ‘patient’ or number in a system really helps.
Alternatively if you feel ready to take the plunge and come and speak to someone call Claire the Smile Advisor here at Southport Road Dental and book in for a Free Smile Analysis, she makes a great cappuccino and wants to help you overcome your fear. You can reach her on 01257 754595.
Maybe you have a question about this post? Please feel free to leave a comment here or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.