Whether it is the idea of procedures, being told you are not looking after your teeth or horror stories from other people, the idea of going to a dental hygienist can result in people staying away for years and damaging their health as a result. If you or someone you know are scared of the dentist, take a look at these handy tips to help conquer the phobia!
Remember that you are not the only person who is afraid of the dentist, it is estimated that over 25% of people in the UK have dental phobia, and that is only the ones who admit to it! Dentists are used to dealing with patients who need to be put at ease so make sure you express your concerns so they can help you feel less negative about the process.
If you are the kind of person who is likely to make the appointment but not actually attend, or get to the waiting room and then leave, take a family member or friend with you. Not only will they ensure you make the appointment but they will help take your mind off of any worries and keep you occupied while you are waiting.
If the idea of procedures is the base of your fear, remember that if this is necessary then it will be at a separate appointment. If you are booked in for a check-up very rarely will a dentist perform any major operations on you and will offer to do this in stages if you prefer to take it a bit at a time. If you have made the appointment as a result of toothache or similar, try some simple breathing techniques to help you focus and concentrate on the end result of being pain free rather than the process. Some people find it helpful to ask the dentist to explain a procedure so that they can digest the information and cope with it better, however some find this off putting and would rather it was done without them knowing the ins and outs; decide which method works for you.
Lastly it is important to make sure that you have the right dentist. Your dentist should understand your phobia and try to make you feel as comfortable as possible with visiting them and unfortunately there are some dentists who are not as sympathetic as they could be. It might be that there is nothing wrong with your dentist but that you need to change because of one particular procedure which was linked to that dentist; either way speak to friends and family to find out if it is possible for you to change to a dentist that comes recommended.