Most people know that they should go to a dentist, or doctor, or optician on a regular basis, so that if there is a problem, it can be detected early and treated with minimal intervention.
Unlike many other medical examinations, visiting the dentist strikes a deep fear in some people. If this is you, you are not alone, you know the benefits of visiting the dentist, but then the short term benefits (lack of pain from teeth, and avoiding potential pain of visiting the dentist), outweigh the distant benefit of long term good dental health and confidence in your smile.
How this fear begins
In my experience, there are a few ways that this fear is instilled. By far, the most common is a bad (childhood) experience – This can take quite a few visits to get over. You need to find a good dental practice, who can make you feel at ease.
Other people are almost embarrassed that they have let their mouth deteriorate to such an extent, and do not want to let anyone, even a dentist see the state of their mouth. I have helped so many people in this category, and I never judge a person by the health of their mouth, in fact I have more respect as these people are doing something about it!
This is the same as the overweight person at the gym, they have the most respect from me, imagine how much will power it takes, they must be thinking that everyone is looking at them! In addition thoughts like “these ‘fit’ people must be laughing at me” must circle in their head – When in reality, hardly anyone will notice, and those who do will have a respect for them.
Some people are afraid of the cost of treatment, however, no one knows the cost, until you have had a full examination. Most places have a variety of payment plans to help you budget.
Find Your Motivation
Your first step should be to find your motivation. What is it that you really want to get out of your visit, and treatment? Do you want an amazing, natural looking smile, do you just want a healthy mouth? Do your children point out an imperfection, which has made you conscious?
Once you have found your motivation, you need to focus on it. This should overpower any negative feelings towards your dental visit.
It is impossible to ‘not think about something.’ for example, try not thinking about a green bear. I bet all you can think about is a green bear! The more you try not to think about a green bear, the more you think about it. This is the same as thinking about the negative parts of visiting the dentist. You should instead, focus on the end goal, and how you will feel once you have a healthy and beautiful smile.
Find a Dental Clinic You Like
This is critical, you need to find someone who will give you time, and understand your needs fully. The first place to look is your friends – can they recommend someone good, who has the patience to help people who already feel anxious about being in the dental room?
If your friends cannot help, I would love to try and help, you can always contact me by email, or Facebook.
Any dentist who is keen to help nervous patients, will offer some kind of free consultation, this will either be with the dentist, or a well trained treatment coordinator. It doesn’t actually matter who its with, the main thing about your first visit is that you feel comfortable with the clinic, and the team.
In part 2, I will talk about booking your appointment, and how to relieve the stress associated with your first visit!
If you found this useful, please share it with other people you think might also find it useful, my goal is to help as many people as I can, to overcome their fear of going to the dentist and as a consequence, to enjoy life more.