If you are a person who is afraid to go to the dentist, you are not alone. According to the British Dental Health Foundation, 36% of people who don't go to the dentist state that fear is the main reason. Dental anxiety and dental phobia are both very real to a large number of people, and there are ways to help you cope with the stress of routine dental visits. Dental anxiety is defined as nervousness or stress when having to go to a dental appointment, while dental phobia leaves people in a state of panic at the thought of having to go to the dentist. Although most people realize their anxiety or phobia has no basis in reality, it is still very difficult to sit down for a dental appointment.
Start by Discussing Your Fear with Your Dentist
Be honest with your dentist about the level of fear you are feeling as you sit down in the dental chair. If your dentist knows you are nervous, they will take careful steps to make you feel more comfortable. Dentists deal with patients who are nervous all of the time, and they have the skills necessary to work with even the most phobic patients. You will have to identify what makes you the most nervous about going to the dentist, and your dentist can work with you to help alleviate your fear.
Prepare Yourself with Medication if Necessary
If you are truly terrified to go to the dentist, talk with your doctor about getting a mild sedative prescribed. Let your doctor know about your anxiety when going to the dentist, and they will probably be willing to prescribe you a medication like Valium in order to help you better cope with the visit. Make sure that you have someone with you to drive if you are going to take a sedative, as this can make you feel sleepy.
Learn Some Deep Breathing Techniques
Learning how to take deep, restorative breaths can make a big difference in your overall anxiety levels. This can help you stay calm in many situations, including at the dentist. You can also try to do some meditation while you are in the dentist's chair, or bring some headphones and listen to some of your favorite music.
When you need to stay calm at the dentist, don't be afraid to develop a signal with your dentist that you need them to stop. When you can feel more in control, it will be easier to sit and get your dental work done.
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