To be afraid of the dentist is actually really common. It can be as mild as having butterflies in your stomach from the moment you enter the dentist’s office, or as major as having anxiety from the moment you’ve scheduled your appointment. For some, though, that fear leads to avoiding or even cancelling dental appointments – when it becomes this intense, it can also be classified as a dental phobia (odontophobia).
Everyone’s fear stems from something different, perhaps a bad experience or a general fear of health appointments. There are plenty of ways you can support yourself and ask for support when you have a dentist appointment, but let’s talk about 3 of them today:
Tip 1: Talk to your dentist and dental hygienist about your fear.
It can be really hard to be vulnerable about why you’re afraid, but dentists and dental hygienists are no strangers to patients with dental fears. If you let the people at your dental practice know that you have anxiety around appointments and procedures, you can work together to find accommodations that will make your appointments go smoother.
Tip 2: Take breaks.
You might think that sitting in the dentist’s chair means that you have to go through your checkup, cleaning, or other procedure at the pace of the person taking care of you. But actually, you have a lot of agency when you’re sitting in the dentist’s chair! Decided on a signal with your dentist (the easiest is just raising your hand) for when you need to take a break. Whether you feel yourself getting anxious, uncomfortable, or in pain, simply use the agreed-upon signal so your dentist or dental hygienist knows that you need a few moments to recalibrate!
Tip 3: Find tools that help you relax
Some easy relaxation methods like taking 10 deep breaths before walking into the building or listening to a calming playlist before and during your appointment might help to bring down your nerves. Maybe you have a piece of jewelry, a keychain, or a pair of socks that always make you feel lucky that you can wear to your appointment. No act of self-comfort is too small to help you make it through something that feels scary!
At Flawless Dental, we will always do our best to give you the best care in the most comfortable way. Don’t hesitate to call us at (617) 332-2872 or let us know in your booking form about what kind of accommodations you might need to have the best appointment possible.