For many people, visiting the dentist isn’t a big event or cause for concern. It’s a regular appointment which comes and goes without drama or conflict. But for some individuals, it is an absolutely terrifying experience. Thanks to exaggerated dramatisations in popular media such as film and television, who would play on the fear of the dentist in young children for easy scares, this fear has carried some through to adulthood. Connotations towards the sound of an electric drill and the bright overhead light, as the dentist peers inside your mouth can send some people into sweats of fear.
Unlike many phobias, the fear of the dentist can have detrimental effects on your health. By not attending regular check-ups, what was once a small problem can build up and grow into a major concern, making the eventual check-up even worse. This means that if the individual is finally able to visit a dentist despite their fears, this experience can be very overwhelming due to the problems that have arisen because of their absence.
At The Smile Centre, Cornwall, we are completely aware and understand why some individuals may be afraid or apprehensive when visiting the dentist. We want to make the experience of visiting our practice as enjoyable as possible and for you to feel completely comfortable. Efforts we like to go to regarding nervous patients are:
- Asking you to wait in a comfortable, non-clinical lounge so you can discuss any fears or worries you may have regarding the upcoming appointment.
- Listen to your past dental experiences. If something happened at a previous practice which has affected you negatively, we’d love to be able to put this right for you if you’re comfortable sharing the experience.
- Taking things at your pace is extremely important to us. Something often said by those struggling with a phobia of the dentist is feeling like you have no control. We will stress to all our patients that you have complete control of your appointment and treatment. If you’d like to pause the appointment, we encourage you to speak up.
Our team at The Smile Centre, understands the difference between dental anxiety and a dental phobia. Feeling anxious regarding a dental appointment is actually very common! Many people feel a sense of nervousness and apprehension regarding an upcoming appointment. These feeling are even stronger when you are visiting a new practice or are due to begin series of treatments. Typically, those suffering with a dental phobia will only visit a practice when their problem has escalated to a point in which they cannot carry on with the side effects, whether that be an aesthetic issue or pain. Also, a dental phobia can have a big effect on a person’s general well-being and self-confidence. Overcoming a dental phobia is important for your physical health and mental health.
If you feel that you suffer from a dental phobia, we have put together our three best tips which may help you when visiting a practice.
- Bringing someone with you
We are perfectly okay with any particularly nervous patients bringing a loved one with them to their appointment. Having the extra support of a family member or friend can be invaluable and can act as a calming factor if you begin to panic. We suggest going with someone who has no apprehension regarding visiting the dentist and scheduling your appointment for the morning, so you will spend less time dwelling.
- Recognising your fears
It’s incredibly important to recognise and accept that you have a higher than average level of fear when visiting the dentist. Some patients in the past have felt that writing down how they feel when at a dental practice very beneficial, as sometimes it can be hard to find the right words for how you feel. If you’re comfortable enough, you could consider showing this written content to your dentist? If your dentist is aware of exactly how you feel, they will know how to help you more effectively.
- Good communication
At The Smile Centre, we actively encourage all our patients to communicate their fears as clearly as they can to a member of our staff. This can be the receptionist taking your call to book the appointment, or the dentist/dental nurse who will be conducting your appointment. We want you to feel that your fears and concerns are being heard and taken seriously. Also, if we know the full extent of your dental phobia, we can devise an effective action plan to tackle it. Of course, we understand that this is asking a lot from some sufferers, and the actual act of making an appointment is a huge step.
A good method of communication we suggest during appointments is a non-verbal sign. Many patients say they fear the idea of wanting to stop treatment, but they cannot speak due to the dentist’s hands/tools being in their mouths. If you establish a non-verbal signal between you and your dentist, they can become aware when you wish to either pause or completely stop your appointment.
If you’re interested in visiting us at The Smile Centre, then call us on 01579 342348or visit our website to book an appointment.