Fear of dentist and dental phobia:
Recently I had my annual check up at the dentist. Whilst I was there they told me how, earlier that day, they’d referred another person to me for help to overcome their fear of the dentist.
Judging by the number of people referred to me by dentists it’s suprising how many people are filled with fear and dread at the prospect of sitting in the dentist chair and opening their mouths – even for a check up, let alone for actual work.
So if you are struggling with dentist fear then read on for advice on how to overcome your fear.
If you have a fear of the dentist you may avoid going altogether, hoping that you can get away with never needing to go. Yet when you get mouth pain or toothache you somehow have to battle that fear and dread.
Or maybe you are okay with a check up, where no dental work is planned, and can just about sit there in the chair with your mouth open.
Yet should work become necessary that can send your fear and panic levels sky high and you may wonder how you’ll cope to have the treatment done.
And often the people who come to see me just can’t sit still in the chair long enough for the dentist to take a look and may just want to run away from the room as quickly as possible.
Your fear of the dentist may have arisen from a specific event or unpleasant experience at the dentist, or you think it is linked to the smell, sound of the drill, the feeling of being trapped or being out of control, or maybe it is around the uncertainty over what may happen as you sit there.
Recently I recorded a super quick video after my own dentist appointment. I hated the dentist as a kid as it seemed to me to be intrinsically linked with pain and suffering over which I had no control.
Yet now going to the dentist is like going to any other appointment like the doctors or even getting a haircut.
You can watch the video here:
Watch on You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tV6P2g7hRAo
As well as the resources mentioned in the video, you can overcome your fear of the dentist by taking these steps:
When you feel anxious and fearful your breathing rate increases as you take in more oxygen for your muscles to get you ready for action. Your breathing gets faster and shallower, which then signals all those other physical symptoms of fear, such as feeling hot and sweaty, feeling sick or like needing the toilet, heart pounding, dry mouth etc.
Fear gets you ready to take action – to fight something or run away from it – but if your fear gets too great as you sit in the dentist’s chair you will be tense, on edge, shaking and unable to sit still.
To lower your fear do these two things:
a) Breathe out to calmness. To lower panic hold your breath for five seconds then breathe in for a slow count of 7 and out for a slow count of 11 and keep repeating that 7/11 pattern. Extending your out breath longer than your in breath fires your relaxation response and you will calm down.
Practice it before your appointment, use it if you feel anxious beforehand and definitely use it in the waiting room and in the dentist chair.
b) Count to calmness. When you are fearful and panicky, your emotions take over and you can’t think logically as you do when you feel calm. Every part of you is internally screaming for you to do something to get away. So get your ‘thinking’ brain working by counting backwards from 300 in 3s in your head. This will calm those anxious emotions and dilute the fear.
Fear has a way of making you think of all the things that could go wrong or unpleasantly, whilst at the same time ramping up that feeling of dread.
So instead of those worst case dentist scenarios, start preparing your mind to feel calm and relaxed when you go to the dentist:
To make this even more effective, download my free Creating Calm, anxiety relief audio.
Fear thrives on uncertainty. You think ahead to the appointment and can imagine and create dozens of worst case scenarios involving panic, pain and fear. Even if you can close one of these off in our mind, you probably find some other worry takes its place.
So rather than look ahead and think of possibilities of what could happen, practice feeling relaxed (maybe after 7/11 breathing) and imagine it is 15 minutes AFTER the appointment has gone successfully. Notice where you are and what you are doing 15 minutes later so you are looking back on everything having gone okay. Practice looking through the other end of the lens and whenever you think of your appointment, jump straight to this point when it is all over and you got through it safely and calmly.
For specialised, expert help to overcome your fear of dentist and dental phobia, contact me today and ask to book a free consultation. This can be in Ely (Cambridgeshire), Newmarket (Suffolk) or via Skype. We’ll have a chat and find out how we can help you overcome your dental fear so you can have the healthy teeth and gums you deserve.
To your success
Abolish Anxiety Ely, Newmarket, Skype