Dental anxiety, or fear of dentist visits, is common in the US. Seventy-five percent of us report some level of dental fear, and fifty percent go so far as to avoid regular dental check-ups due to a fear that they will feel pain. Yet many of those who skip exams to avoid pain still deal with long bouts of pain before they go to the dentist to deal with their problem.
Experts have found that many of those who have serious dental fears may have had a painful childhood visit to a dentist. Among the most common dental fears are fear of needles and drills. The worst fear is having a tooth pulled.
The rank of dental fear among the most common adult fears is one sign of just how widespread this fear can be. In one survey, fear of the dentist ranked second. Fear of speaking in public ranked first.
How to Manage Fear of the Dentist
It is vital to value dentistry and the great advances dentists have made to help ensure the comfort of their patients over the years. Yet, it is clear that dental fear is still a problem for many people. There are some tips you can use to quell the fear of dental visits. The tips that follow have helped many of those who suffer from dental phobia.
The first and most crucial of these tips is to be open about your fear with your dentist and their staff. When you let the dentist know about your fear, she can change the way she works, and that can help to put you more at ease.
It is also a good idea to have your check-ups at times when other stress will not make your dental fear worse. To that end, set up time on a weekend, when the stress of your job can be put aside.
For those who fear the drill, music can help to block out the sound, and that can make it easier for you to relax. Last of all, those who have dental fears should not eat sweets or use caffeine on the day of their check-up. These can add to jittery feelings and may make you feel even more tense.
Want to learn more? Talk to your dentist about how you can get a handle on your dental fears.