The movie Little Shop of Horrors has a scene that I think most of us have identified with at some point in our lives, one that speaks to our dental anxiety – Steve Martin singing “Dentist!” According to Harvard, almost a quarter of people around the world are afraid of going to the dentist. If you feel nervous about visiting the dentist, you’re not alone and you can overcome those fears.
Understand Your Fear
The most important part of conquering fear is understanding why we feel afraid or anxious about a situation. For most people, dental anxiety comes from four places,
- Pain – In the past, a lot of dental procedures hurt, and as Steve Martin demonstrated, that reputation stuck. Today, however, the most common dental procedures are painless, and your dentist will take care to make sure you feel comfortable.
- Loss of control – When you’re in the chair with your mouth propped open, you feel a loss of control. Some of the tips we share below will help you manage that feeling.
- Embarrassment – Some people feel anxious and embarrassed about their dental health, especially if anxiety has kept you away from the dentist for a while. The good news is your dentist won’t judge you.
- Past experiences – Did you have a bad experience? It could have been more painful than anyone anticipated, or it could have been poor care. The worries and fears that come from bad experiences are legitimate, but they don’t have to stand between you and good dental care.
Take Control of Your Dental Anxiety
Once you understand your anxiety, it is time to act. We have four tips to help you move from quiet fear to a healthy and productive dental visit.
Don’t settle for the first dentist. Bucks County has several dentists for you to choose from. Make calls and talk to the staff. Look at the reviews from other patients and ask about the different offices in social media groups. Taking time to find the right dentist will help you feel more comfortable going to their office.
Take Comfort Items with You
We usually have items that help us feel comfortable and safe. Whatever your item is, take it with you. Earbuds will let you listen to music or a soothing podcast. A small throw blanket is comforting and will keep you warm if the office is cool. You can even bring a small stuffed animal – whatever helps you feel comfortable and safe.
Discuss Your Dental History and Concerns
When you decide on a dental office, talk to them about your dental history before your appointment. If you have serious dental health concerns or haven’t been to the dentist in a long time, you can set expectations and take away some of the anxiety you feel. If you had bad experiences, letting the office know will help them prepare for your appointment, especially if that experience caused other dental problems for you.
Ask lots of questions. We’re happy to answer any question that you have about your visit. If knowing it will help you feel more comfortable, ask the question. Don’t worry about whether you think the question is silly; when it comes to your health, no question is silly. The important thing is that you come into the office knowing what to expect and feeling comfortable.
Are You Looking for a Dental Clinic in Southampton, PA, or Philadelphia, PA?
We’re here and ready for your questions. Contact us today to make an appointment. You can find our dental clinics in Philadelphia and Southampton. Tell us what services you need and let us ease your anxiety about dental care.