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10 tips on overcoming your fear of the dentist

You may not know this but more people than you think have some form of fear of dentists so you may be closer to that than you think.

So, you want to overcome your fear of the dentist? Do you want to feel normal? Well, you may not know this but more people than you think have some form of fear of dentists so you may be closer to that than you think. However at least one in ten of those people have anxiety enough that it is serious. So, if your fear or anxiety is getting in the way of you getting treatments, we have compiled a few easy tips on how to overcome your fear of dentists.

1. Go to the dentists building when you don’t need to

One simple technique that you may not have thought of is to go to the dentists when you don’t need to. This can be as simple as walking, driving or riding to the dentists building and standing outside, maybe doing something else whilst you are there. If there are shops nearby, go there instead. Maybe even speak to the dentist beforehand, if they will let you. This should help you get used to the settings so that this doesn’t cause anxiety.

2. Try thinking positively, smiling more

This one may sound like a load of baloney, but sometimes smiling and giving the outward appearance of being happy or at least content, will alleviate your fears and make you feel happy on the inside. It can also help other people with you take comfort.

3. Try relaxation techniques

Try relaxation techniques both at home when you are thinking about the dentists, and whilst you are there in the waiting room, and in the chair itself. Just simple breathing exercises, closing your eyes and thinking happy or neutral thoughts can relieve your stress.

4. Speak to people about it

Sometimes a problem shared is a problem halved. If you talk to someone you know and trust about your fears, this can help alleviate them. Just explaining the problems and having someone listen to them, can help you to rationalise your thoughts. Maybe they have fears too and both of you can benefit.

5. Try distractions whilst you’re there

One major way to relieve fears is to have something else to focus on whilst the dental procedure is happening. Try asking the dentist to put some music on in the background if he or she can. Some dentists may even have a television you can watch.

6. For small treatments let the dentist explain the process beforehand

Having the dentist explain what they are about to do before they do it can also relieve stress. Once you know what they are doing, you don’t have the constant feeling of not knowing what is happening. You may even be able to joke about it which ties back into point 5.

7. Reward yourself for going

Much like raising a child or training a dog, managing your dental anxiety is all about training yourself to have a positive experience. So if you give yourself a reward after every time you visit the dentist, you will later be able to associate the dentist with that treat, whether it’s going to the cinema, out for a meal (if allowed), going shopping, sports, gaming, it can be a great way to relieve stress.

8. Work out what the problem is

If you can work out the causes of your anxiety, maybe pin it back to a particular visit you had when you were younger, you may be able to better deal with it, especially if you can separate that event from your fear.

9. Try a different dentist

Sometimes the only thing you can do is try a new dentist. If all your negative feelings about the dentists are tied to one particular practice, then, no matter how close it is or how familiar with it, maybe it is time to start again at a new place, and get new associations?

10. Try hypnosis

Only do this if you have tried other techniques and had no luck. A professional may be able to get the root of the problem and relieve your anxiety, but make sure it is someone reputable. Try websites designated to helping people with dental phobias.