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The fear of going to the dentist and needing to have dental procedures is all too real for many children and adults. Some people will avoid the dentist for years because of their fear, despite the recommendation to have a checkup every six months.
Avoiding the dentist is actually the worst thing you can do if you are fearful of dental procedures. The purpose of regular dental visits is to catch problems before they become too big. If you visit your dentist regularly, the need for major procedures will significantly decrease.
Dental professionals understand dental fear and work with you to make your visit as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. Here are three tips to help overcome your fear of going to the dentist.
1. Talk to Your Dentist
You may feel embarrassed or that your fear is not valid. However, dental fear is a lot more common than you might think. It is estimated that over 60 percent of people in the United States suffer from dental phobia.
Your dentist understands your fear and will work with you to keep you comfortable. It is also important to understand exactly what you are fearful of. Is it the needle? Is it the drill? If you can pinpoint your fear, your dentist will be more likely to make accommodations that work for you.
2. Bring Distractions
Having to experience all the sights and sounds of a dental office can be nerve-racking. Bringing distractions, such as headphones to play your favorite music, a book to read while waiting for your turn, and even dark sunglasses to wear when you are in the chair, can help distract you from what is going on around you.
It may even be beneficial to bring someone with you to the appointment to help calm your nerves. This person should be someone you feel comfortable with and who is not afraid of the dentist.
3. Explore Sedation Options
There are many sedation options available to ensure that your trip to the dentist is as comfortable as possible. Sedation is not convenient at every appointment, as it will take longer, and you will need someone to drive you home after. However, sedation can be beneficial for the first few appointments while becoming more familiar and comfortable with the office. Talk to your dentist about your fear and ask about the available sedation options.