For many of us, being afraid of the dentist can be a bit of a joke. We often laugh about not wanting to go and visit the dentist with friends but as long as we can muster the bravery to still go it doesn’t really matter.
In some cases though, this slight weariness can develop into a full blown fear or even a phobia. In such scenarios, we might find ourselves completely avoiding going to the dentist at all even when we really need to.
This is when a funny character quirk can become a real problem, as it means you’ll end up not getting crucial checkups potentially allowing minor conditions to develop into serious problems. Ironically, it’s not going to the dentist that makes you far more likely to need a painful procedure.
Meanwhile, if there is a procedure you want from your dentist such as whitening or a general clean, then you might well find yourself unable to get that procedure and thus stuck with teeth that don’t look half as good as they could do.
If you find yourself in this boat, then it’s time to pick yourself up and make a point of overcoming your irrational fear. Read on and we’ll look at some of the ways you can do that…
Find a Good Dentist
The first thing to do is to find a good dentist who you feel you can trust and who makes you feel at ease. This is in fact an important part of a dentist’s job, so if you feel on edge then it’s important to look elsewhere.
Try speaking to a few dentists in your area and you should get a feel for what they’re like. Hopefully you’ll find there’s one who you hit it off with and who’s sympathetic to your plight and this will most likely help a great deal.
When you book an appointment it’s a good idea to book one as soon as possible. This helps because it means you won’t get anxious as the date gradually approaches – better to get it out of the way as soon as possible.
Another tip with regards to timing is to ensure that you aren’t rushed as this will only add to your stress. If you’re normally at work, then book time off in order to make your appointment and it can make a big difference.
CBT is ‘cognitive behavioral therapy’ – a type of psychotherapeutic intervention designed to help combat negative thought patterns and associations that lead to phobias and anxieties. The central idea here is to use ‘cognitive restructuring’ to challenge your thoughts on a subject in order to start thinking more healthily about it. In this case, ask yourself where your fear really comes from and challenge yourself regarding whether or not those views are really warranted or logical. Over time this can help you to combat a phobia of the dentist but even in the short term it can make you feel less nervous about something like dental implants or fillings.