Nervous Patient? Combat Your Fear of the Dentist!

Nervous Patient with Dental Phobia and Anxiety

If you are a nervous patient, or have a dental fear, dental anxiety or dental phobia, and are contemplating visiting the dentist, please do read on before letting the inhibitions scare you away!

Dental fear, dental anxiety and dental phobias are very common with dental patients around the world. Having a fear, anxiety or phobia of the dentist can be a barrier for someone not accessing dental care when they need it the most.

In this blog we aim to help ease some of that fear and hopefully reassure you that you will be well looked after when sitting in a dental chair. 

What Will Help Reduce Your Anxiety?

Have a think about what helps calm you down when you are feeling anxious. Everyone is different, but some common remedies which help patients feel at ease include:

  • Listening to relaxing (or a specific genre of) music
  • Listening to politics or discussions on the radio to keep your mind focused on something else
  • Meditation shortly before the appointment (you are welcome to use your patient waiting room for this!)
  • Using a calming scent or essential oil may be all that is needed to change the environment enough for you to feel more at ease.

If there is anything we can do to help make your experience easier, then let us know what works for you! We are more than happy to accommodate your needs. 

Don’t be Embarrassed

First thing to remember is that you are not alone, and you should not feel at all embarrassed. If you have not been to a dentist for a while, you will not be judged. A common reason as to why patients leave it months or even years before they attend the practice is because of a previous bad experience (most commonly as a child). If you have a fear of the Dentist, let your Dentist know what specifically you are afraid of, and see what they can do to make the experience better for you.  For example:

  • Is it the lack of control? Simply raise your hand at any point, if you need to stop – the Dentist will know to stop immediately and check you are okay
  • Is it the noises of the dental equipment? Perhaps, you can use headphones and music to drown out any other sounds
  • Is it the fear of pain? There are really effective methods we use to make sure you are as comfortable as possible
  • Is it something else? Let us know!

If we know about your anxieties, our team will make every effort to alleviate those anxieties, to make sure you have a positive experience. It is our professional privilege to help look after your oral health and help you combat your dental fears. Please see below some tips which may help:

Take someone for support

Take a friend or family member with you to the appointment. The Dentist won’t mind if they accompany you throughout the appointment.

Start with just a Dental Examination (Checkup)

If you have dental fears, dental anxiety or dental phobia, we recommend starting simply with a Dental Examination (Checkup) – this will help you become familiar with the environment and team who will be caring for you, prior to carrying out any dental treatments, and will will mean your next appointment, for dental treatment is less daunting.

The first appointment is a great time to ask the Dentist about any questions/concerns you may have, and let them know about your fears so that they can do everything they can to help put you at ease.

The first checkup is a chance to assess the health of your teeth and gums, and know what treatment may be required. Your dentist will formulate a treatment plan for you so you know how long treatment will take and what to expect at each stage.

Choose A Time That Reduces Your Anxiety

It may also be a good idea to book a visit as soon as you decide you want to be seen. The longer you leave it, the more chance your anxiety has a chance to build leading to you being at risk of cancelling. 

We recommend choosing an appointment time that will help reduce your anxiety. You may find it easier booking an appointment earlier in the day – this way the appointment is over and done with early in the day, rather than letting your anxiety build up throughout the day whilst you wait for your appointment.

Alternatively, some may find they would rather get through some, or all of their working day, and then have their dental visit so they can just head home afterwards.

Visit the Dentist as a Child

It is advisable for children to start visiting the dentist from as young as 6 months. This is because it helps normalise the environment, and if they continue to attend regularly, they are much less likely to build up any fears or phobias. They will hopefully feel a trip to the dentist is no big deal and just part of a routine every 6 months. 

Even in adulthood, making sure you attend regularly, will really help reduce dental fears. The hardest visit, will be the first one – especially if it is the first after a number of years. Once you have overcome that hurdle, try and keep routine checkup appointments so that you know your oral health is always being looked after. With stable oral health, requiring less treatment, you may find it pleasantly surprising that a visit to the dentist can be enjoyable, rather than causing panic like it used to!

At Thames Street Dental, we have many years of experience of treating extremely nervous patients. We are a friendly team who are here to support you in combating your dental fears and look forward to welcoming you. 

Please contact us if you would like to discuss your dental fear, dental anxiety or dental phobia.