Want to take control of your dental fear?
Before you make your appointment, heed this advice...
- Choose your dentist wisely. Many people who fear the dentist don't have one. Instead of choosing someone randomly from the Yellow Pages, get a referral from a friend, family member or even the local dental society.
- Be up-front about your fears. When you make the appointment, tell the receptionist about your concerns, so the dentist and staff know to treat you with kid gloves.
- Ask questions. Often, the anticipation is greater than the actual event. Don't be nervous about asking your dentist questions ahead of time about the procedures you'll need. Knowledge empowers people and alleviates anxiety.
- Find a distraction. What concerns you the most? The sound of the drill? The sight of a needle? Eliminate the sight, smell or sound with things like visual reality glasses, headphones or other sensory distractions.
- Develop a signal with your dentist. Raise your hand, tug on your ear lobe, or find another way to communicate your needs when you can't speak. You'll feel more comfortable knowing you can stop a procedure at any time.
- Discuss your pain-free options. With so many techniques to choose from, it's rare that you'll experience significant pain during a procedure. Talk to your dentist about which option is right for you and your treatment.