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It has been estimated that up to 12% of people in the UK experience dental phobia with a further 36% experiencing dental anxiety. Fear of the dentist is a common phenomenon and one that many of us experience and have to push through in order to maintain good dental health and hygiene, for some people, however, pushing through is a little more difficult and they may put off visiting the dentist altogether. If you suffer from dental anxiety here are 5 tips for making your visit a little easier.
Recognise your fears
According to the Most Recommended Dentist in UAE, people fear the dentist for many reasons and recognising what it is specifically about the dentist that you are afraid of is a crucial first step. Try to write your fears down, this will not only help you to recognise them but will also help you to communicate exactly what it is you fear to your dentist.
Communicate with your dentist
Fear of the unknown is a common reason why people are afraid of the dentist and this can be helped by simply starting an open conversation. Explain your fears to your dentist so that they can be more mindful of your anxiety. If you fear the unknown then ask your dentist to explain the examination and procedure beforehand so that you know what to expect. For example, many children and adults fear the process of getting braces, simply knowing what to expect at a braces consultation can help to put their mind at ease and stop them from overthinking.
Work to overcome your fear
Some fears can be overcome with a little work and gentle, slow, exposure. Explain your fears to your dentist so that they can help you to find small steps to overcome them, such as sitting in the dentist chair, getting used to having your mouth examined or becoming accustomed to the sound of certain dental equipment. Although no-one wants to be told that they need to face their fear it can be a very helpful way to put your fears into perspective and realise that they aren’t as bad as you made them out to be in your head.
Try relaxation techniques
Dental anxiety can induce a feeling of panic in dental patients. If you feel a sense of panic before or during your appointment try practising relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises and meditation. Ask your dentist for a few moments prior to the start of your consultation to sit back in the chair and breathe deeply, if you feel a sense of panic rising during the consultation then don’t be afraid to ask for a short break to recompose yourself. Another technique to try if you feel anxiety during the consultation is to remind yourself of the reason why you are at the dentist’s, be that to improve your smile, relieve pain or to maintain good dental hygiene.
Speak with a psychiatrist
For some sufferers, their anxiety or phobia may be so great that their best course of action is to speak to a psychiatrist. Psychiatrists can help you to understand your fears and find their root cause. By finding the root cause of your fear or phobia you may be able to re-train your brain and overcome the fear altogether.