OK……..so you need to see the dentist. You may be in severe pain or, you might just need a regular cleaning and check-up appointment. BUT, you’re scared, terrified, afraid, petrified…..and a host of other descriptions for being fearful of visiting the dentist. I myself, (I’m Tina by the way, one of the receptionists) am a little wary of the thought of having my teeth seen by a dentist or hygienist.
SO!! What do you do? How can you overcome this fear? You know you have to see the dentist, because either the pain will just not go away and only get worse over time, or by missing the checkup and cleaning appointment something small that needs to be done may grow into something big.
Well, dentists have unfortunately always had bad press over the years. Mainly because we don’t understand what they are doing and the area that they work in is very tender and sensitive, especially if we are already in pain. Also of course, we may have had a bad experience with a dentist when we were younger, and this fear resurfaces every time we need to make a dental appointment. However, there has been a lot of progress in dentistry training and dentists are now much better trained in how to make their patients feel more at ease and be more aware of their patients’ needs, concerns and fears.
In our own office, I have to say, our priority is making patients feel welcome and at ease. Dr Dave and his assistants are more than happy to have new patients come in for a free consultation before any regular appointments are made. This allows Dr Dave to introduce himself and his team and show you around the office and what to expect. We at the front desk are also happy to answer any questions you might have, including advising you about insurance and costs.
We find that understanding is the main problem, whether it be understanding the actual treatment needed or understanding the administrative side with forms, insurance and payment options. Once patients understand the needs, the process and that they are valued and their fears will be taken seriously, quite often that helps to eliminate some if not all of the fear. The most important thing of all though, is to let your dentist know about your concerns. Believe me, there is probably nothing your dentist hasn’t heard before concerning fears of dental work. Dr Dave is especially good at explaining procedures and telling you what he is doing and why, I know this from firsthand experience and it certainly helps me.
You can help yourself though too. When you go to the dentist take a good book with you to read while you are waiting; listen to music that soothes and calms you; bring along a stress ball or toy so that you can squeeze your tension and stress away; try doing some breathing exercises or even bring a friend with you if that makes you feel better. Think positive, be positive – there is no end to the benefit of just feeling positive about something, even a visit to the dentist. Of course, you could always set up a treat or schedule something fun to look forward to after your dental visit. Remembering of course, that you will have to consider any instructions from your dentist or hygienist with regards to eating and care for the rest of the day.
How do I stay calm? I pretend that I’m not scared and try to be positive about it!! Plus of course, I’m lucky in that I now work in a dental office and am able to get to know the staff and the procedures really well and I can assure you that understanding it all is very helpful to me.
So……..prepare yourself, calm yourself, arm yourself with information and be positive and eventually you WILL love visiting your dentist.