If the thought of visiting the dentist makes you feel nervous, you are not alone. According to a 2018 Dental Phobia survey, 53% of the UK population suffers from dental anxiety. If you are one of that 53%, it is important that you don’t let that anxiety cause you to avoid visiting the dentist. You need to visit your dentist regularly, in order to maintain a good standard of oral health. Therefore, it may be beneficial to develop strategies to help you cope with your dental anxiety.
If possible, try to visit a dental phobia-certified dentist, as they will have experience in treating anxious patients, and will have strategies in place to help you. Once you have found a dentist, see if it’s possible to visit the surgery to familiarise yourself with the environment. Let the dentist know what your fears are, so that they can be prepared to support you. When booking an appointment, try to book an appointment early in the day, as this will give you less time to worry about the appointment.
Whilst at the surgery, there are a number of things that you can do to help ease your anxiety. Firstly, you can take a trusted friend or family member with you to provide reassurance. You could also take headphones to the appointment so that you can distract yourself by listening to music or a podcast, or take a stress relief ball to release some tension. Before the dentist begins treating you, agree on a signal that you can use if you need to have a break during the treatment. Finally, if you are very anxious, sedation options may be available for you at your dental surgery.