If you're the type of person who understands the necessity of regular dental checkups but a degree of anxiety about the process keeps you from walking through the dentist's doors, you're not alone. About five percent of Canadians reportedly consider themselves "very afraid" of the dentist, while another approximately 10 percent label themselves as being "somewhat afraid" of dental procedures. If this phobia keeps you from making dental appointments, you're in jeopardy of developing problems with your oral health. Although simply getting over this anxiety might feel easier said than done, there are a number of strategies that can help you conquer your fear and get you into the dentist's chair. Here are three winning solutions.
Consider Sedation Dentistry
Sedation dentistry is common during complicated procedures but can be a viable solution for patients with dental phobia during regular checkups. Call your dentist's office and ask about the various methods of sedation dentistry that are available. Many clinics offer multiple forms of sedation dentistry from mild types that calm help you stay calm to stronger forms that anesthetize you during the checkup -- and other choices in between. If you feel that your anxiety is keeping you from getting into the dentist's chair, a form of sedation can be the right choice for you.
Visit to Discuss Your Concerns
Sharing your concerns can often alleviate your anxiety, so call your dentist's clinic and ask if you can visit in advance of your appointment to briefly discuss your fears and gain a better understanding of the elements of the checkup or other procedure. The adage that "knowing is half the battle" is true in this case; obtaining more information about the ins and outs of the process can help you feel more at-ease about what you can expect on the day of your appointment. Given the prevalence of dental phobia, your dentist will be able to gently listen to your concerns and provide details that can reassure you.
Many dental clinics are equipped with televisions that patients can use to keep entertained -- or distracted -- during their checkup or procedure. While this is one option, you can also ask if you can take a tablet to your appointment to watch a video or use your MP3 player to listen to something. Often, a relaxation program commonly used in a massage therapist's clinic can allow you to enter a state of relaxation and keep you distracted from the appointment.