One of our recent reviews made us pause: “I’m very satisfied with my experience. Having a lifelong fear of dentists, I was very pleased with the time taken and explanation of what was going to happen. I would recommend them to anyone.” Do you have this same fear? If you do, you’re not alone. We’ve seen the statistics estimate the amount of Americans with a dental phobia to be an estimated 30-40 million.
Whether your fear stems from past experience, the feeling of a loss of control in the dentist chair or anxiety over the cost of dental cleanings, root canals, fillings and examinations, the good news is that your dental fear can be overcome.
- Know your costs. If your fear revolves around the cost of dental procedures, ask the dentist for a price list. If you have insurance, know what portion of each cleaning or exam is your responsibility. Request a quote before each appointment so you can budget appropriately. One caution: try not to base your decisions for dental care on your insurance. In some cases, you may need more dental work than your dental benefits cover. Be smart with your money management and dental care, and you’ll be healthier overall and (hopefully) less fearful at your next dentist’s appointment.
- Face your fear calmly. Take deep breaths or use another relaxation technique to relax before your dentist appointment. Remind yourself it won’t be as bad as you think. Sometimes our mind can make the thing we fear more painful than it is—such as tooth extractions or root canals. If pain is on your mind, discuss your options for pain treatment and sedation before the appointment.
- Bring along someone you trust. Before you visit the dentist, ask if you can have a friend or family member accompany you on your visit. If needed, ask if your acquaintance can accompany you into the treatment room.
- Get distracted when in the chair. Bring along music or a book on tape to keep your mind off the dentist visit. Some dentists have a television in the treatment room that can distract you during your preventative dental care or procedure.
- Visit an expert. If none of these tips help, seek out an expert in dental phobias to face your fear.
- Choose your dentist carefully. As they say, the first step is admitting your fear. Do your research before you select the dentist for your first visit. Ask around, and search for online reviews. Look for a dentist that explains what they are going to do before they do it and takes their time (so you can request breaks if needed). If your fear is associated with a waiting room, don’t arrive early and sit around getting cold feet. When you do arrive, be upfront with the dentist and let him know you have a fear of dentists. If you still can’t bring yourself to pick up the phone, make an appointment online and let us know you have a fear in the comments. We want to make sure your dental care, and experience, in our dentists’ chairs is as agreeable as the patient who wrote the review.