Odontophobia is the fear of going to the dentist or receiving dental treatments. Anxiety towards the dentist is one of the most common fears in the UK. Roughly 20% of all adults in the UK suffer from some form of dental anxiety. For most people it is simply a case of nervousness and discomfort at visiting a dental practitioner but in severe cases this phobia can prevent people from visiting the dentist or seeking treatment for oral problems.
Today we wanted to look at some of the best techniques available to beat dental fears once and for all
The first port of call is to discuss your phobia with a dentist. If visiting the dental surgery causes too much stress try phoning a practice and arranging a phone consultation with the dentist. You want to talk to your dentist about your fears and arrange measures to help you overcome your fear and get the treatment you need. Dentists will be able to talk you through procedures, let you take breaks and help you relax during your visit.
(2) Breathing Techniques
Breathing techniques help your body to relax and help distract your mind from treatments. The easiest and most useful technique is to breathe in slowly through your nose for three seconds and then exhale slowly for a further three seconds. This technique will focus your mind and keep your body from becoming tense. Practice this technique before going to the dentist so that you can use it during sessions.
(3) Distraction Techniques
Like breathing techniques distractions help your mind focus on other things. One of the easiest ways to distract yourself is to take in music to listen to during the treatment. Explain to your dentist that you would like to listen to music to relax and make sure that you are listening to music that relaxes you. This will help you feel comfortable.
In extreme cases of dental phobia sedation can be an option. Not all dental practices use sedation but those that do are specially equipped. Sedation means you can avoid dental phobias throughout any treatments but do not actually overcome dental fears.
If your dental phobia prevents you seeking help of any kind from the dentist then therapy is a serious option to consider. Dental phobia is actually common enough that there are a number of professional therapists who specialise in dental phobias across the country. You can seek treatment for dental phobias through the NHS or visit a private therapist. Therapy can be one of the most useful tools for permanently dealing with dental phobias. Alternatively there are a number of online support networks. Talking to people with the same problems can be incredibly rewarding and help you to deal with issues through mutual support.
Hopefully these techniques can help you overcome your dental anxiety – seeking help is one of the most important steps and remember you are not alone.