A Guide to Overcoming Fear of the Dentist
It is common for people to feel anxious or fearful about going to the dentist. This fear, also known as dental anxiety or dental phobia, can range from mild to severe and can be caused by a variety of factors, such as past negative experiences at the dentist, a fear of pain, or a general fear of medical procedures.
If you have dental anxiety, it is important to communicate your fears and concerns to your dentist and dental team. They can work with you to help you feel more comfortable and relaxed during your appointments. There are also several strategies you can try to help reduce your anxiety:
Find a dentist you trust and feel comfortable with. Ask friends or family members for recommendations or consider seeking out a dental practice that specializes in treating patients with anxiety.
Talk to your dentist about your concerns. Explain your fears and ask about the procedures that will be done. Your dentist can explain the steps involved and help you feel more informed and in control.
Bring someone with you for support. You may find it helpful to have a friend or family member accompany you to your appointment to provide emotional support.
Consider relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or visualization. These can help you feel more calm and focused during your appointment.
Ask about sedation options. Your dentist may offer options such as nitrous oxide (also known as laughing gas) or oral sedation to help you relax during your appointment.
Hypnosis can bring considerable relief to anxious patients and make it easier for the dentist to do their job but it is particularly implemented in order to help patients relax. As relaxation raises the pain threshold, requirement for local anaesthesia is reduced. And even if it is necessary, it is better tolerated. Finding a dentist who can provide this service may be a tall order however, we have a solution if you think Hypnosis is something you would like to try.
Sharon Shinwell is a UK qualified Clinical Hypnotherapist. For several years, prior to studying Hypnotherapy, Sharon worked as a Dental Nurse in both NHS and private practice. So, when she began to produce her range of Self-Hypnosis recordings, as she had dealt with nervous patients before, producing one for Fear of the Dentist, was one of her first sessions. You can Download it HERE Alternatively, you may want to consider seeking the help of a mental health professional, such as a therapist or counsellor, who can work with you to address your anxiety and help you overcome your fear.
It is important to keep in mind that regular dental visits are important for maintaining good oral health.
Prevention is better than cure.
In the field of dentistry, "prevention is better than cure" means that it is better to take steps to prevent dental problems from occurring in the first place rather than having to undergo treatment to fix them. There are several ways to prevent dental problems:
Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to remove plaque, which can cause tooth decay and gum disease.
Floss your teeth daily to remove plaque and food particles that get stuck between your teeth and along the gum line.
Use mouthwash to kill bacteria and freshen your breath.
Limit sugary and acidic foods and drinks, which can cause tooth decay.
Visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings to catch any problems early and prevent them from getting worse.
By following these preventive measures, you can keep your teeth and gums healthy and avoid the need for costly and time-consuming dental treatments.
What happens at a dental check up?
During a dental check-up, also known as a dental exam, your dentist will assess the overall health of your teeth and gums and look for any potential problems, such as decay, gum disease, or oral cancer.
During the exam, your dentist might: Clean your teeth: Your teeth might be professionally cleaned by a dental hygienist to remove plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) that can build up on the teeth over time or your dentist might do this.
Examine your teeth and gums: Your dentist will examine your teeth and gums for signs of decay, gum disease, or other problems. They may use tools such as a mirror, probe, or X-rays to get a closer look at your teeth and gums.
Check for oral cancer: Your dentist will examine your mouth, lips, tongue, and throat for any signs of oral cancer.
Discuss your oral health: Your dentist will discuss your oral health with you and provide recommendations for maintaining good oral hygiene, such as brushing and flossing techniques and how often to see the dentist for check-ups.
Make treatment recommendations: If your dentist identifies any problems during the exam, they may recommend treatment, such as fillings, crowns, or other procedures.
It is important to see a dentist regularly for check-ups to maintain good oral health and catch any problems early, when they are most treatable.
What are the implications of not going to the dentist?
Not going to the dentist can have serious implications for your oral and overall health. Some potential consequences of not seeing a dentist regularly include:
Decay and cavities: Plaque, a film of bacteria that forms on teeth, can produce acid that attacks tooth enamel, leading to decay and the formation of cavities. Cavities can cause pain and sensitivity and, if left untreated, can lead to more serious problems, such as abscesses or tooth loss.
Gum disease: Bacteria in plaque can also cause gum disease, which is an infection of the tissues that support the teeth. Gum disease can cause swelling, redness, and bleeding of the gums, and if left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss and even increase the risk of other health problems, such as heart disease and stroke.
Oral cancer: Regular dental check-ups can help identify oral cancer in its early stages, when it is most treatable. Failure to see a dentist can delay diagnosis and treatment, leading to a poorer prognosis.
Other health problems: Poor oral health can also have negative effects on overall health. For example, gum disease has been linked to an increased risk of diabetes, and untreated tooth decay can lead to infections that can spread to other parts of the body.
Oral hygiene and bad breath.
Good oral hygiene is essential for preventing bad breath, also known as halitosis. Some tips for maintaining good oral hygiene and preventing bad breath include:
Brush your teeth at least twice a day: Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and fluoride toothpaste to gently brush your teeth for at least two minutes, paying special attention to the areas around the gum line.
Floss daily: Flossing helps remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth and along the gum line, areas that your toothbrush cannot reach.
Use an antimicrobial mouthwash: Mouthwash can help kill bacteria and freshen your breath.
Replace your toothbrush regularly: Toothbrushes should be replaced every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles become frayed.
Avoid tobacco products: Smoking and chewing tobacco products can cause bad breath and increase the risk of oral cancer and other health problems.
Drink plenty of water: Staying hydrated can help rinse away bacteria and food particles, helping to freshen your breath.
Chew gum or suck on breath mints: Chewing gum or sucking on breath mints can help stimulate saliva production, which can help rinse away bacteria and freshen your breath. Just be sure to choose sugar-free options to protect your teeth.
If you are still experiencing bad breath despite practicing good oral hygiene, it may be a sign of a more serious underlying health condition, such as gum disease or a digestive problem. It is important to see a dentist or doctor to determine the cause of your bad breath and receive appropriate treatment.
Benefits of an electric toothbrush.
There are several potential benefits to using an electric toothbrush:
Improved oral hygiene: Electric toothbrushes are often more effective at removing plaque and preventing gum disease than manual toothbrushes. Some electric toothbrushes have features such as oscillating or rotating heads, which can help remove plaque more effectively than manual brushing alone.
Ease of use: Electric toothbrushes can be easier to use for people with mobility issues or disabilities that make it difficult to brush their teeth effectively with a manual toothbrush.
Timers: Many electric toothbrushes have built-in timers that help ensure that you brush for the recommended two minutes.
Customizable settings: Some electric toothbrushes have different settings for different needs, such as sensitive teeth or whitening, which can be tailored to your specific oral hygiene needs.
Convenience: Electric toothbrushes can be more convenient for some people, as they do not require the same level of manual dexterity as manual toothbrushes .It is important to note that electric toothbrushes are not necessarily better than manual toothbrushes for everyone. The best choice for you will depend on your personal preferences and oral hygiene needs. It is important to follow proper brushing technique and use a toothbrush that is appropriate for your needs and recommended by your dentist.
Dental water flosser.
A dental water flosser, also known as an oral irrigator or water pick, is a device that uses a stream of water to clean between the teeth and along the gum line. Water flossers can be an effective alternative to traditional floss for removing plaque and food particles from between the teeth and along the gum line.
To use a dental water flosser, you fill the reservoir with water and aim the stream of water at the areas between your teeth and along the gum line. Some water flossers have multiple settings, such as different pressure levels or pulsating water streams, which can be tailored to your specific needs.
There are several potential benefits to using a dental water flosser:
Improved oral hygiene: Water flossers can be effective at removing plaque and preventing gum disease, especially in areas that are difficult to reach with traditional floss.
Ease of use: Water flossers can be easier to use for people with mobility issues or disabilities that make it difficult to floss effectively with traditional floss.
Convenience: Water flossers are portable and do not require the same level of manual dexterity as traditional floss, making them convenient for people on the go.
It is important to note that water flossers are not necessarily better than traditional floss for everyone. The best choice for you will depend on your personal preferences and oral hygiene needs. It is important to follow proper flossing technique and use a method that is appropriate for your needs and recommended by your dentist.
It is important to see a dentist regularly to maintain good oral health and prevent serious problems from developing. If dental phobia is preventing you from getting dental treatment, it is important to communicate your concerns to your dentist and explore any other strategies to help you feel more comfortable during your appointments.
I am Sharon Shinwell a UK qualified clinical hypnotherapist. I recently retired from my face-to-face counselling and hypnotherapy practice. However, I am able to continue to help individuals through my range of downloadable Self-Hypnosis sessions that address a variety of issues. With my extensive knowledge and experience in the field of hypnotherapy, I am able to provide effective solutions for those seeking to improve their mental and emotional well-being. For my Self-Hypnosis session for Fear of The Dentist CLICK HERE
"This article represents the personal views and opinions of the author and should not be taken as representative of the official policy or position of any organization, professional, expert, or individual."