Dental Anxiety: How to Manage Your Fears
Many of us don’t like going to the dentist, but if you do need some dental anxiety management, you can ease those worries.
How many of us are guilty of putting off that vital dental appointment until it’s just too late and the problem is all the worse? Lots of us. We’ve all had that lingering toothache, for instance, that we hoped would go away eventually — that we’d be just fine and there’d be no need to visit the dentist — until one morning you woke up and you had an almighty and fiercely throbbing toothache that sent you running for the dentist’s chair, fears or not.
Here at The James Clinic, we know all about the dental anxieties our patients can encounter when they visit a dentist in Ireland or anywhere else, and we always try to put their fears to rest. Thankfully, modern dentistry is a world apart from where it was even a couple of decades ago, and these days, having injections and an extraction, along with many other procedures, is almost entirely painless and over in a flash. There really is no need to worry at all, and going to the dentist at the first sign of trouble means you can catch a problem before it develops into something worse — something that could take a lot more time, and money, to remedy.
There is indeed, however, a term called dental anxiety, and the reasons for its manifestation can be many. Common ones include having a bad experience at a dentist as a child — before today’s vastly improved dental services came about — or having been told scare-stories about dentists and having teeth pulled. For others, dental anxiety can take a more deep-seated, psychological form: the fear of having all those hands and instruments in your mouth, and potentially blocking the airway and obstructing your breathing. Whatever the reason, the good news is there are real ways to overcome your fears about going to the dentist.
Dental Anxiety Management: A Plan
Overcoming your dental fears means you’re on a path to great oral health and amazing teeth. There’s no need to put off visits to your dentist in Ireland, whether scheduled or routine, such as a six-monthly check-up or to have your teeth cleaned. If you do have fears about dentists but need to have something done, the first step in dental anxiety management is working out for yourself where those worries come from and identifying the source of your fears.
This could be, as mentioned, a childhood experience at the dentist that may have been painful, or some story someone in your family told you about dentistry and how a trip to the dentist turned into a nightmare. Finding out why you’re scared of the dentist and acknowledging that such phobias — much like flying: you may not exactly like it, but it’s necessary and safe — are extremely common will almost certainly put your mind at rest. Your dentist is there to help, not harm or hurt you, and they have a duty to provide you with professional services, which includes managing any anxieties you may have.
The next step in good dental anxiety management is getting to know your dentist and their clinic. If you haven’t been to a dentist in Ireland in years and suddenly have to, because of tooth decay or some other emergency, it may all seem a bit frightening: the chair, bright lights, instruments, people in surgical scrubs — what is going on?! If you’re able to have a consultation with your dentist before a procedure and talk about what will be done, it will certainly help when the day arrives — plus, you will have gotten to know your dentist a little from your chat and will likely feel much more at ease.
Talking about Dental Anxieties
Many people who experience dental anxiety can be those who like to have a good degree of control over their lives. But suddenly, they’re in a situation where they have little or none and just have to lie there are wait until it’s all over. If this is you and you’re feeling anxious when you visit your dentist in Ireland, talk to the people in the surgery — the dentist or dental nurses — and try to work it out. Some people, for example, don’t like the dental chair lowered all the way back, as it can heighten their anxieties when a procedure starts. Asking for the chair to be raised up a bit can help you feel more relaxed — so don’t be shy about asking, as everyone is there to assist you.
And try to keep in mind that while you may not like the sounds of various types of dental instruments, such as drills or suction tubes, they are designed to solve your problem and restore you to good oral health. While it might seem like using them takes ages, it really only takes a short time, and they don’t hurt at all, especially if you’ve had a local anaesthetic.
Other tips for good dental anxiety management include meditating before going to your dentist in Ireland (you can find short meditations on YouTube), and if they have music or a TV in their surgery, ask them to turn it on so you’ll feel the time whizz by while you’re in the chair. You could also bring your own music and treat everyone to your favourite songs — that would put your entire trip to the dentist in tune with all your expectations and hit the right note with your fears and anxieties.
Worried about visiting your dentist in Ireland?
Talk to The James Clinic about what you want to have done and we’ll do our utmost to explain everything in detail and put you totally at ease. Contact us now and find out more.