Despite the great services that dentists provide, these oral hygienists aren't exactly the most popular people in the world. When you consider the practicalities, it's hardly a surprise either. From the sharp tools, to the surreptitious surgical masks, to the loud noises buzzing all around, there is plenty to dislike about going to the dentist, and whilst there aren't many people in the country who enjoy their dental visits, a sizable amount of Australians actively fear the ordeal of getting their teeth checked out. This is a condition that's come to be recognised in medical circles as dentophobia or odontophobia.
There are varying degrees of dentophobia. Several sufferers feel uneasy when they're sat in the dentist chair, whilst others are absolutely petrified just at the thought of the man in the green mask looming above them. The main issue with many of those who harbour a fear of dental treatment is that they often feel alone, but the most important things to remember about this condition is that it's COMMON, and it's also very TREATABLE.
Listed below are three key steps you can take to conquering your fear of the dentist. Follow these three "F's", and watch yourself develop a fearlessness of dental treatment that you previously thought was impossible to achieve.
Find a Friend
Finding a dentist that you can call a friend is a good way to overcome your fear of tooth treatment. It may feel time-consuming and a little stressful to begin with, but taking your time to find a dentist that you feel comfortable around is vital for you overcoming your dentophobia. You may think that you're alone, but fear of the dentist is extremely common. Every dentist in the country is used to dealing with it, and have been trained to treat sufferers sensitively.
Never underestimate just how far you've come when you walk into a treatment centre to book your dental appointment. Putting one foot inside a dentist's surgery is a huge step. Chances are that you will speak to a receptionist when you arrange your first session, but whilst you're there you should politely ask to meet your dentist in person. He/she might be busy, but they'll be happy to put aside 5 minutes of their time just to meet and greet you. Alternatively, book a session by phone or e-mail—with a friend sat alongside you for support—and when making arrangements say you'd like to meet your dentist first. Most surgeries will be more than happy to oblige.
Fear of the unknown is one of the more troubling aspects of the human condition. Many people suffering from dentophobia have their condition magnified and accentuated by creating horrid, fictional scenarios in their head about what the dentist might be like. Just seeing the inside of the dentist's office is half the battle, and getting used to the environment goes a long way towards destroying your fears. Frequently visit your surgery to see your dentist, and take baby steps every time you go. On your first visit, just let your dentist count your teeth—as this will help you get used to the process of someone rummaging around inside your mouth. On your second visit, let them perform a light scrub. If you have to go back a step at any point: don't panic. You can't put a stopwatch on the human brain; these things take time.
If it makes you feel any better, remember that sedation is always an option for dental procedures. This will eliminate any of the daunting visual or aural aspects of dental treatment that get your heart racing, and will allow any work on your teeth to be completed to perfection without you having to suffer any discomfort.
Followed by Fun
After easing into frequent dental visits, arrange something fun afterwards as a reward for attending each separate session. In time, your mind will come to associate every visit to the dentist as a temporary speed bump on the road to an exciting evening. Have a friend or family member sat in the waiting room for you after each trip to the surgery, and let them whisk you off to a bar, a show, or an event. Associating your visit to the dentist with some kind of positive element is a great way to begin destroying your fear of dental treatment. You deserve to be rewarded for attempting to overcome your anxiety, and treating yourself after every trip can go a long way to improving your confidence, happiness, and overall oral hygiene. For more information, contact Redland Bay Dental Surgery Toothwise.