For some, heading to the dentist can be stressful, even terrifying. The thought of being helpless can contribute to a phobia of dentists. If you, or perhaps your children, are having a hard time going to the dentist because you are overly fearful of the experience, below are some tips for overcoming that fear.
Acknowledge the Issue
Oftentimes with fears and phobias, simply acknowledging them out loud and accepting that you have one is enough to begin the journey of taking the power away from that fear or phobia, so that you can overcome it. Admitting a fear of the dentist is a healthy first step, and is not something you should be ashamed to tell yourself.
Understand Your Fear
In order to overcome the fear, you need to really understand why you have it to begin with. Sit down and really talk to yourself. Write down a list of reasons that you don’t like going to the dentist. Identify what on that list is your least favourite part? What causes you the most emotional stress?
Consider the Possibility that You Might Need Help
If, after writing out your list, you discover that your fear of the dentist has less to do with something practical and observable and more to do with an underlying psychological issue (such as post traumatic stress disorder, chronic anxiety, etc.) it may be wise to speak to a professional (either a psychiatrist or a psychologist) about it to figure out what the root cause is and how to address it.
Commit to Overcoming the Fear
Unless you make a conscious effort to overcome something, chances are it will continue to dominate your emotions and your life. The power of positive thinking and of constructive thinking is really hard to overstate. Once you have convinced yourself that you are capable of something, and that you want to do something, it’s amazing what you can accomplish.
Speak to Your Dentist
Dentists understand that people generally don’t “enjoy”—in the traditional sense of the word—their visits, but that they make them anyways. They also understand that a fear of the dentist is not all that uncommon. They will generally be very understanding and want to help. You can sit down one on one with your dentist and formulate a plan that could help you get over your fear and back into the dentist chair much easier.
Being afraid of something is no cause for shame, its an opportunity for personal growth. If you tell yourself you can overcome something, and put the effort into actually overcoming it, chances are, you will do it. If you are terrified of the dentist and want to make that phobia a thing of the past, keep the above tips in mind and don’t let fear stand in the way of your oral health.