6 Tips For Overcoming a Fear of the Dentist (That Really Work)

6 Tips For Overcoming a Fear of the Dentist (That Really Work)

Sitting in a chair while someone is poking around in your mouth isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. In fact, we understand that visualizing yourself in the dentist’s chair, even for a simple check-up, can make some people feel a bit anxious. With this in mind, going for dental check-ups is extremely important for your oral health! 

On the other hand, regular dental visits might help you overcome your fears. We’ve collected some tips that will help you the next time you pay a visit to the dentist.

1) Honesty is the best policy

If you do experience anxiety about visiting the dentist, then please tell us. We won’t ignore your fears or laugh at you. If we’re being completely honest, we understand that it can be uncomfortable. In fact, we’re likely to be more considerate when checking your teeth.

Whether you want us to talk you through each procedure or just to take it slowly, we’re always willing to help. Plus, we’ve seen all sorts of nerves from patients, so what’s the worst that could happen?

2) Bring someone with you

Think of it as a fun day out? Okay, so maybe not…but bringing a friend or a family member can help reduce any nerves you have.

If you don’t feel comfortable about opening up with us, then maybe you’ll feel happier confiding in a close friend. Just because you’re an ‘adult’ doesn’t mean you can’t take your mom to your appointment. Honestly, we won’t mind at all, especially if it makes you feel better!

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Avoid caffeine

3) Avoid caffeine before your visit

For some of us, this is a big one. Unfortunately, drinks that are high in caffeine and sugar can increase anxiety.

We understand that not everyone can go without their giant cup of coffee in the morning. However, especially on the day of your dental appointment, the least you can do is try and reduce the amount you drink.

On second thought, caffeinated and sugary drinks are terrible for your teeth. Therefore, it’s worth reducing the amount you drink in general. Plus, drinking less of these beverages might mean fewer visits to the dentist (a win-win in our eyes!).  

4) Slow and steady wins the race

If you need a moment to get it together, go for it! Fears aren’t something to ignore so make sure you put yourself in control when visiting us.

A few options to consider are taking frequent breaks to recompose yourself, asking us to go slowly, or wanting to go through the procedure with us step by step. Even a slow check-up is better than no check-up. Just remember – you pick how the appointment goes and you decide on the right dentist for you.

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Listen to music

5) Listen to music

Sometimes all you need is to shut your eyes, listen to some guilty pleasures, and let us do a quick check-up. Okay, so that last part probably isn’t your ideal situation, but it has to be done.

Always bring something with you to listen to during your appointment. Whether it’s music, a podcast, or even a tv show, having something to listen to could be your saving grace. 

Music has been proven to reduce anxiety levels so why not give it a go? A happy and powerful playlist is enough to lift anyone’s mood!

6) Treat yourself

Unfortunately, we stopped giving out suckers a long time ago (they’re not very good for your teeth anyway). Still, this doesn’t mean you can’t reward yourself after your visit.

Try going out for a meal with friends, getting a *few* drinks, or even doing some retail therapy…because, let’s be honest, we all deserve it. Planning something to do after your appointment will hopefully help take things off your mind as you’ll now have something to look forward to (apart from your fun dentist appointment, of course!)

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There are obviously several ways of reducing anxiety before your dentist appointment, but we find these 6 to be the most successful among patients. Most importantly, you have to remember that we understand your fears and we want to help.

As our last and final tip, keep in mind that the better you look after your teeth (i.e. daily flossing, brushing twice per day, and getting check-ups at least twice a year) means the less time you’ll have to visit us for. Essentially, you’re less likely to experience complicated procedures if you properly take care of your oral health.

Guest author: Dr Jayme Adams is Lead Dentist and Founder of 360 Dental Care, Manchester’s most popular dentist. His passion is creating beautiful smiles and is dedicated to making his patients happy. 360 Dental Care have helped thousands of residents in Manchester create their perfect smile.