How to Overcome Dental Anxiety
Your fear of going to the dentist may have a lot of reasons behind it – the pain, the hassle of going to the clinic, the “wasted” time of being with the dentist. But it is a fear that you have no choice but to overcome. If you let your fear get the best of you and you don’t go to the dentist, you may sustain a variety of oral problems, like bad breath, bleeding gums, and tooth decay. It is recommended to start going to the dentist after the first tooth has surfaced, so meaning it is best to start with an early age so you develop comfort and habit. But if you already have the anxiety, do not worry, because it is never too late.
Recognize its existence
In a lot of psychological problems, the first step is to acknowledge that it is real, and you are experiencing it right now. Dental anxiety is no exception. Accept the fact that you fear going to the dentist and list down the reasons why. This way, you are further understanding yourself, and therefore your solutions will be more targeted to your specific reasons.
Acknowledge the importance of good oral health
Cleaning your teeth on your own is not enough. You need to go to the dentist to clean the parts where your toothbrush, floss, and mouthwash cannot reach. If you let these parts be dirty long enough, you may develop oral problems. You should acknowledge that going to the dentist is important for your oral health, and that it is necessary and not something you can just brush off if you don’t feel like it. This way, you are convincing yourself that you need to overcome your dental fears and not make excuses.
Do not think about it too much. Relax yourself. Take deep breaths. Realize that this is necessary, and that the dentist knows what he is doing, so there is really nothing to worry about. The key is to believe that nothing bad is going to happen and that you trust your dentist. If something bad does happen, like painful treatments, just think that it is a necessary step to achieve good oral health. If it helps, you can even distract yourself while being treated.
Give yourself a reward
Every time you reach a milestone, like finally getting that first dental visit in a while, you should treat yourself. This may give you more motivation of overcoming your fears. However, do not be counter-productive. The reward to yourself should not be a product that can cause your oral health harm, like acidic beverages and sugary foods. If you do this long enough, you may let go of your fears and you won’t even need the rewards anymore.