Dental phobia is surprisingly common. But putting off going to the dentist can lead to more serious complications down the road. If you are a “Dentaphobe”, here are five ways to help you cope with this fear and get the dental treatment you need:
- Fear of the unknown. Being whisked away from the waiting room, draped with a green bib and positioned with a nice view of the ceiling, can be a little intimidating. You likely have some questions before the dentist gets to it, so don’t be afraid to ask for a break-down of the procedure. By learning more about the details of your check-up, you can begin to feel more at ease.
- Dental equipment. Having sharp metal objects stuck into your mouth can instill fear in the hearts of many. You probably want to know what these tools used for. And, perhaps more importantly, will this hurt? Ask your dentist if you can hold the tools first so they don’t seem so foreign. You may also want to ask for a quick demonstration on how the tool will be used.
- Trying to breathe through the nose. If you breathe primarily out of their mouth, a visit to the dentist can feel stifling when the dentist must work in your mouth. It may help to wear nasal strips, which can open up your nose for easier breathing. And if you need to take a break during the procedure to catch your breath, work out a hand signal with your dentist to indicate that he needs to stop working for a moment.
- Gag reflex. For those with a tendency to gag during dental work, the thought of putting those tabs into your mouth for an X-ray – or the molding clay in for an impression – can feel daunting. To combat the urge to gag, breathe through your nose. It may be a good idea to use a nasal spray or strip to open up nasal passages beforehand. Another trick is to moisten your finger and put a dab of salt on the end of your tongue right before the procedure.
- Fear of needles. For many, needles can be terrifying, especially when inserted into your mouth. Before the injection, ask your dentist if numbing gel will be used. This can help tremendously with discomfort. Additionally, try to focus your attention away from the pain of the needle in favor of how the needle will eliminate any pain during dental treatment.
Don’t put your dental appointment off any longer! Contact Dr. Stanley Hirst, DDS, and Bethany Jensen, DDS, at Broadway Family Dentistry today by calling (701) 839-1299 to schedule a check-up.