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Dental anxiety or the fear of dentistry has been a buzz word for many to ignore and avoid trips to the dental chair unless there's a very strong pain related stimulus to do so.
While going to the dentist has never been perceived as a pleasant predicament to be in, the levels or degree to which they feel this unpleasantness, can vary widely from person to person.
There are those of us who just feel like procrastinating the appointment and then there are those of us who cannot sleep the previous night and pass out or throw up when we actually make it to the appointment.
Scientific basis underlying this is the degree of fear that you associate with the experience, so no matter whether you are just anxious or downright phobic here are a few things that'll help you keep your emotions and fear in check.
All talk no work -discussion based appointment.
If you're anxious or phobic it helps to ensure that you have all your concerns addressed before you jump on to the chair. (and so to speak the unknown)
Help your dentist identify the things that maybe difficult for you. People are usually scared of particular things like for some of maybe the sound of the drill, for others the water in their mouth so ensure you identify and communicate what's most unacceptable to you so that the dentist can be cautious and customize your treatment.
Timing is key
Fix your appointment before pain hits.
Communicate the degree of fear while making the appointment or request a tele consult to discuss your particular concerns.
Try and schedule a time when you can ensure the doctor is expecting you and won't keep you waiting so your anxiety doesn't grow.
Do your research
When choosing a practice ensure you know what their philosophy is in general and how do they manage dental pain, anxiety and phobias.
It would be advisable to ensure you are going to a practice trained and geared to manage your specific issues.
Besides being a great dental clinic with the right team and technology -the doctor needs to empathise with the reality of dental fear and should be trained to treat you in a different way then regular patients who can
Check in advance if the practice is painfree.
If you do end up doing the procedure,
Break your fear into bite sized chunks
Then ensure you choose to start with a smaller treatment and a shorter session like a cleaning or something that you don't attach fear to.
Once you have a rapport with the doctor you tend to build trust and get comfortable you can start coming in more regularly.
Do not do an internet search on your problem or talk to friends or relatives
The worst thing an anxious patient can do is tap the wrong resource for information. Please ensure that you are not self diagnosing and finding things that match your symptoms online. Things appear way more gory than they actually are on the internet! another mistake that people make often is discussing their dental problem with friends and family who further scare you with their bad experiences and your fear is compounded to a point where you now think all their cumulative dental mishaps are sure to happen to you.
Our advice is follow the above steps find the right doctor and then just sit back relax and enjoy your smile!