When fear of the dentist becomes ingrained in one’s psyche, services like teeth whitening; dental implants and any kind of cosmetic treatment can be a nightmare. In the end, visits to the dentist wind up on a back burner—even if you know that affordable dental care is available.
If this describes you, the word “dentist” may be enough to send you scurrying away from booking the appointment that has the potential to improve your dental health.
The good news is that dental health can be a pain-free experience if you are willing to adopt one of the six fear reduction methods on our list. Pick the one that best suits your personality. You may just find a way to end this cycle of avoidance and perhaps look forward to your dental appointments down the road.
According to a National Institutes of Health (NIH) U.S. Library of Medicine study, “Fear and anxiety toward the dentist and dental treatment are both significant characteristics that contribute to the avoidance of dental care”. Walking into a dental office may be all it takes to trigger a fearful patient. This is why so many patients wind up coming in for emergency treatments due to ignoring a dental problem.
While no guarantees are offered by practitioners, hypnotism helps patients who fear dentistry every day. Resources like Arizona Center for Advanced Medicine use hypnosis and guided imagery to turn patient panic into relaxation. If you’re willing to give it a try, this could be the key to unlocking your panic.
According to WebMD and other reliable sources, seeking relief in the form of an anti-anxiety pharmaceutical may be all you need to show up at your dental appointments in a relatively relaxed state rather than not showing up at all.
When Zawn Villines updated the article “Can CBD Oil Help Anxiety?” published by Medical News Today in 2018, she concluded that while this type of anxiety therapy is still in its infancy, “there is mounting evidence to suggest that some people can get relief from anxiety” by using CBD oil to relieve extreme stress and agitation.
This essential oil is a derivative of hemp that is bred so artfully, it doesn’t deliver the high cannabis users seek when they turn to recreational drugs. Do your homework to learn more about brands, dosages, delivery methods (e.g., vape; pills; sublingual oils) and side effects before you check out stores.
Hire a life coach trained to desensitize people who fear dentists. The process of desensitization has been around for decades. It is highly recommended by those who want no part of drugs, even if they are over-the-counter products. Chicago practitioner David Carbonell has been coaching fearful people for so long, he has even registered the name “Anxiety Coach”. People in need of help know exactly what he can do for them when they visit his site.
Sometimes, it helps to steal ideas from other people that deal with the subject of fear of dentists from a personal perspective. The Harvard School of Medicine opened a forum just for odontophobia (that’s the official name of patients with fear of dentistry issues). If you roam through this page, you’re going to find ideas that run the gamut from ingenious to not so much!
All you need do is visit the Harvard web page and scroll through the long list of coping techniques proposed by patients, many of whom may have been as frightened as you are every time you think about showing up for a dental appointment.
Whether it’s listening to a CD or podcast recorded by a comedian or wearing green calming glasses, you may be surprised to discover how far dental science has come since the last time you were brave enough to show up for your dental appointment!