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Scared of The Dentist – What can I do?

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Many people have a fear of the dentists, whether they have had a good reason in the past or simply because it is something they have learned from their parents. If you are concerned about a visit to the dentist, then there are several things that you can do in order to make it a pleasant and easy experience. Addressing the elements of a dentist’s visit which makes you nervous can help both you and the dental team to relax.

Fear of dental treatments

This is the most common type of dentist phobia, and was also much more common in the past, when dental equipment was primitive and personal dental hygiene was less sophisticated. These elements together meant that a regular trip to the dentist was likely to result in uncomfortable treatments. The sound of the dentist’s drill can still send shivers up the spines of some patients. In order to overcome this kind of fear, patients can benefit from a beginner’s appointment with the dentist. At this point, there will be no treatments, so you can just talk to the dentist, explain your fears, and have them discuss your treatment options. Dentists may offer to start with basic treatments, such as a dental polish, before moving on to more serious treatments. This can help you to feel more comfortable in the dentist’s surgery.

Fear of the dentist in person

If you are more nervous about visiting the dentist rather than the treatments themselves, then you may have to deal with a different set of feelings. Most people who are afraid of the dentist have never had a bad experience – in some cases they might not have ever been to the dentist – but they learn their fear from family experiences or media depictions of dentists. Children learnt to be nervous of the dentist, and their children have learnt to be nervous of visits to the dentist because they are watching their parent’s reaction. People can also fear dentists if they have had negative experiences in the past, either as young children or as adults with poor teeth.

These types of fears are often psychologically rooted, and some patients benefit from talking to our dental hygienists first in order to ‘warm up’ for a full dental appointment. Finding the right dental practice can be essential for those with a fear of dentists, and it may help to talk to the dentist before making an appointment to reassure yourself that they are friendly and helpful.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

We work with a cognitive behavioral therapist, Omisona Fasina, who helps our really nervous patients overcome their fear and helps them to attend their appointments no problem at all.

The CBT process is all about understanding what caused the initial fear and helps change the way you see what your scared of, to then enable you to overcome your fear and proceed with your desired treatment.

Call us to book your free consultation at the clinic or with our cognitive behavioral therapist.

Do you still have unanswered questions? Please feel free to submit them below!

By Dr Gursh Bajwa

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