10 ways to overcome the fear of visiting the dentist

A visit to the dentist can bring with it a wave of emotions – and not good ones at that! 

Not everyone loves the dentist (even though we can assure you we’re a great team at Abbey Dental). Some can fear the noise of the equipment; others may have a phobia of needles and more. 

Not to continue scaring you while reading this post, we want to help make your experience and visit to your local dentist a positive and relaxed one.  

Below we’ve pulled together our top 10 tips to help overcome your fear of the dentist. 

  1. Take someone you trust. On your first visit to a new dentist, it’s important to take a friend or family member with you. Someone you can trust. Someone who has no fear of the dentist and who can help to keep you calm and relaxed at all times. 
  2. Pick an early appointment time. The earlier you can get to the dentist during the day, the better. Setting or booking appointments for later in the day gives you too much time to dwell on things and for your fear and anxiety levels to rise. 
  3. Listen to some music. If you’re having treatment done, or even to drown out the sound of the equipment and act as a distraction, pop your headphones in and listen to your favourite tunes. A supportive dentist who you have built a rapport with, won’t mind at all, and would much rather a calm and happy patient! 
  4. Agree on a sign or signal. Agreeing with your dentist, a signal, or sign that you’re both aware of and which means you would like to have a short break, undoubtedly helps. An easy and straightforward gesture, such as a finger point or a hand raised, works great. Having this simple technique in place helps to reduce your fears as it keeps you in control. 
  5. Try relaxation breathing techniques. Focusing on your breathing and slowing down your breathing during dental procedures helps to keep stress levels low. Don’t hold your breath; however, as this only incites an increased feeling of panic as oxygen levels decrease. Slow, regular breathing is the best way forward. 
  6. Watch what you eat and drink. You should look to avoid any caffeinated drinks and sugary foods before a visit to the dentist. We’d recommend eating foods that are high in protein as unlike sugary foods, those rich in protein help produce a calming effect. 
  7. The biggest one. Find the right dentist. Ask friends and family for recommendations. Who do they trust? What has their experience been? You can also contact dentists local to you to ask them how they can help with anxious or fearful patients. You’ll also, at this stage, be able to get a feel for the staff, how they respond to you, the advice that they provide, etc. It’s about being able to build a relationship with your dentist so that you can establish trust and reduce your anxiety levels. 
  8. Visit the dentist regularly. Once you’re familiar with your surroundings, the atmosphere, and the noises, etc., you will begin to feel more relaxed each time you visit. At Abbey Dental, we always provide a clean and relaxed environment.  Reducing fear and anxiety and reassuring our dental patients that we understand their fears, and we’re here to help. 
  9. Work on ways to gradually increase your treatment. Communicating your fears and anxieties can help your dentist gauge the situation, and tailor treatment plans to suit. It’s not always about getting procedures done there and then, but rather focussing on creating a positive experience, so reducing fear levels. For example, in some cases, you might be able to start with milder treatments, so you can get comfortable with sitting in the dental chair, working up to more advanced treatments when necessary. 
  10. Treat Yourself. Overcoming your fear of the dentist is a big step, and it should be rewarded. Take the time to buy something nice for you or do something fun after your treatment. This way, visits to the dentist will soon become associated with nice activities and put you in a more positive mind frame. 

At Abbey Dental, all of our dentists understand the apprehensions people have about dental treatment. That’s why we strive to provide comfortable and reassuring experiences for all of our patients. 

We’re on hand and available to accommodate those who suffer from anxiety and have a fear of the dentist, with many nervous patients who use Abbey Dental overcoming their fears, due to the trust and positive relationship that has been built. 

Following these top tips and remembering that a visit to the dentist is great to keep your oral health in check, should all help to reduce your fears and anxiety. 

For a dental practice that truly cares, call 0160644725


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