Are You Scared of Coming to the Dentist? Ways to Overcome Dental Anxiety.

Many people either are scared to come to the dentist because they felt traumatized as a child when going to a dentist or had a bad experience with a prior dentist. The anxiety associated with coming to the dentist is very real, and it is nothing to belittle. The good news is that dentistry has come a long ways, and procedures can be completed painlessly now with the use of anesthetic and topical numbing medication that makes any injection that is needed relatively painless. Those horror stories people tell you of their dental experiences will stay in the past because that is not what dentistry is today.  Times have changed!

The first thing you will want to do is find a dentist who you trust and that has a very calm demeanor and office atmosphere. For example, My Dental has a very calm dentist, and the office is scattered with pictures of the beach, which helps put patients at ease. (Wynn, 2019).

The next thing a patient should do to help them overcome their fear of the dentist is to be vocal about their fears of the dentist. (Wynn, 2019). Telling your provider that you have a fear of the dentist will make them aware of your situation, and they may be able to prescribe something to help with the nerves or walk you through each step to make you less anxious. Nowadays, dentists often prescribe benzodiazepines to help manage the anxiety, and in some cases, IV sedation is needed. It will also decrease the representative heuristic of the dentist due to the patient seeing that the dentist is on their side and not trying to harm them- only trying to help.

Another good thing about dental anxiety is that is decreases with exposure; you are putting yourself through exposure therapy that will make you desensitized to the undesirable stimulus, the dentist office.