Fear is a mechanism evolving humans developed for protection. It keeps you away from dangerous places and poisonous animals, for instance. However, fear can also have negative consequences, even in non-dangerous situations. This is the case with dental anxiety, which can develop into a full-blown dental phobia.
The patient and compassionate team at Hometown Family Dental Centers serves the communities of Fayetteville, Raeford, and Vass, North Carolina. We’re here to make sure you have a healthy smile that lasts a lifetime, and we pride ourselves on making your comfort our top priority.
Your teeth contain lots of nerve fibers that are sensitive to pain, so it’s no wonder you feel nervous about your dental appointment. However, the heightened anxiety you experience before the visit is typically far worse than what happens at the visit itself.
Anxiety first aid: 4 tips to fight fear
As difficult as it seems, it’s important that you try to relax. Fear leaves you with tense muscles and nervous thoughts and emotions. Here are four tips to help you overcome your anxiety about your dental appointment.
1. Name your dental phobia
As an anxious patient, express your fears at the beginning of treatment and ask the doctor to take a moment to talk with you. That alone helps ease discomfort, and speaking up can relieve your tension.
Asking the dentist to explain your procedure step-by-step helps you feel more in control of the situation, leading to a more relaxed headspace. Know that you can ask for breaks when you need them.
2. Find a good dentist
It’s essential that you trust your dentist. The highly trained providers at Hometown Family Dental Centers use an integrative, personalized approach to address dental anxiety and ensure you get the dental care you need.
We offer sedation dentistry to make treatment more comfortable for you. This ensures your relaxation, relieves pain, and allows the dentist to provide more in-depth care. Plus, sedation dentistry is safe for both children and adults. It’s entirely possible that you won’t need sedation at all, but knowing the possibility exists creates relief.
3. Learn new coping methods
Desensitization as part of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a useful approach to alleviating dental anxiety. Patients with severe dental phobia can experience significant relief using psychology to reduce their fear.
Desensitization is exposing yourself to what you’re afraid of, a little at a time. For example, in the weeks before your appointment, you start by simply driving to the dentist’s office and staying in the parking lot. Next, you visit the dentist’s waiting room.
Through this gradual exposure, fear and anxiety diminish. Before you know it, you’re ready to sit in the dentist’s chair for treatment.
4. Shun the shame
Another way to counter your dental phobia is to find a friend or family member to talk to about your fears. You don't need to be ashamed of your dental anxiety, and you should seek help. If you don't want to open up in front of your friends, you may find it easier to take advice from other people who are fearful of dentists.
Discussing dental fear in an online forum can be very effective because you can anonymously discuss problems and possible solutions. A patient who’s already overcome this phobia can help coach and encourage you.
Dismiss your dental fears
We know that the possibility of feeling pain during treatment increases uncomfortable feelings. Once you visit Hometown Family Dental Centers, you’ll wish you’d scheduled an appointment sooner. Our caring team promises relaxation and relief from pain, no matter what kind of oral health problem you’re facing.
Our skilled, gentle dentists can provide the oral care you need in a comfortable, reassuring setting. And it’s good to remember that even if you experience some pain as your mouth recovers from treatment, painkillers can help.
Skipping dental cleanings and appointments can lead to severe problems with your mouth, gums, or teeth. This causes real pain in the long run, so it’s best to face your anxiety before small problems get worse.
If you’re ready to make an appointment, call the office that’s convenient for you to schedule a consultation. You can also use this secure form to request an appointment online.