Scared of the dentist? You’re definitely not alone. Almost 75% of adults in the US experience some sort of fear when visiting the dentist, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Here’s what you can do to help your dental anxiety.

Signs and Symptoms

Those scared of the dentist usually show visible signs of distress in the dentist’s office. Others may become deeply withdrawn and remain quiet because they are riddled with anxiety. 

Other symptoms include low blood pressure, sweating, fainting, and a racing heartbeat, though you do not need to have these symptoms to be afraid of the dentist. Those who are scared of the dentist most likely recognize they have dental anxiety.

Solutions

  • Be open: Your dentist is not a mind reader. If you’re having a difficult time, speak up for yourself and tell your doctor. You’re not the first person with dental anxiety, and you surely will not be the last. Share the negative experiences you have had in the past with your dentist so they know what to avoid during your visit. Once you feel comfortable with your dentist, asking questions throughout your visit can do wonders to lessen anxiety. If you’re nervous, your dentist can talk and walk you through each step before they take any action.

 

  • Establish a signal: If you’re worried about communicating with your doctor while you have instruments in your mouth, set up a “signal” with your doctor. This can be a simple hand wave that lets your dentist know you need a breather before they continue working on your mouth. 

 

  • Drown it out: For some people, the worst part about going to the dentist is all of the dental accessories laid out before you. Suctions, scrapers, drills, and more can really turn off a patient, especially if they make a lot of noise. Patients like this may benefit from listening to music during their visit. Ask your dentist if it’s okay to put in headphones so you have something to distract you during your appointment.

Scared of the Dentist? Do not avoid

Avoiding your appointments because you’re scared of the dentist is one of the worst things you can do. Not only will this only create more fear surrounding the dentist for you because of the increased build-up and anticipation, but it will also impact your oral and general health. Dentists don’t bite (most of them) and would rather work with you on your anxieties than not see you at all.