The team at Lifetime Family Dental make it a priority to provide a safe and comfortable environment for our patients. Unfortunately, even routine gentle dentistry treatment can cause some people extreme anxiety and fear. For some people, it may be due to a bad experience when they were kids, the lack of control or for others maybe its just a general fear of anyone in a white coat! Regardless of the reason behind it, dental fear is not something that should be taken lightly. Even though letting your dental health fall by the wayside can lead to even worse consequences down the road, up to 10% of Americans are victim to dental fear and anxiety which keep them from scheduling their dental cleanings and checkups. If you can’t seem to get over the hurdle of your dental fear, here are a couple psychologist recommended techniques to overcome your phobia.
1. Systematic Desensitization
This gradual approach to desensitizing yourself to the fear is actually a fairly simple concept. Small steps are key with this approach. Essentially, the idea is too slowly introduce yourself to aspects of what you are afraid of in a controlled environment. For example, if your fear is of the dentist, start by simply giving the dental office a call. Chat with the front office about any questions you have with no pressure on yourself to actually schedule the appointment just yet. After that, perhaps try browsing dental videos online to familiarize yourself with what is actually going on during a procedure. Another step might be just visiting a dental office’s waiting room to try and make yourself comfortable and make it feel more familiar. Take it as slow as you need too!
While to some people this approach might sound a little “woo-woo”, there is merit in it. To put it in more everyday terms, this is just practicing mental focus. With kids this can be achieved by having them practice just focusing on their stuffed animal or blanket. Then once they are in the chair and can hold onto their prized toy, it will be easier to focus on that instead of the dental procedure. There doesn’t have to be an object, in adults this could just be the practice of focusing your mind elsewhere. The key is practicing your mindfulness and meditation practice when you are calm, so that you are more experienced with mental focus during an externally stressful situation.
If you’re ready to take the first step in overcoming your dental fear, contact Lifetime Family Dental today to get a feel for what we’re all about!
Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (12/22/2015) Brett Holt (Flickr)