Fear is an extremely strong emotion, actually, it’s one of the strongest motivators human being can experience; problem is, not everyone has the experience and training to channel that energy to a positive outcome. You see, fear evokes one of three responses: retreat, paralysis, or confrontation; and most of the time our reactions is unconscious, but, even if fear is a survival instinct, sometimes it can hurt us, for example, when we fear the dentist and we avoid it like the plague.
This irrational fear called dentophobia is one of the primary reasons why people often avoid their regular visits to the dentist; but this form of avoidance is anything but healthy, regular visits are the cornerstone or a good oral hygiene, and regular checkups are just as important as your annual visit to a physical doctor.
So, if you suffer from dentophobia, what can you do?
Find out what causes the fear
dentophobia doesn’t just happens out of nowhere, there is always a stimulus that produces the emotion; when you experience dentophobia , take a minute to process the moment, try to find what specifically made you feel fear, was it the image of the dentist?, the sound of the drill?, the chair?, just go through a mental list and pay attention to what makes you nervous.
Now that you have a clear idea of what causes your dentophobia , we can work on finding ways to fight it, basically, expose yourself to the source of the dentophobia in small quantities, for example, if you hate the sound of the drill, try to play it on your headphones for a few minutes several a day, if it’s the chair, watch dental videos, the idea is to get used to the source of the fear.
Seek the aid of friends
You don’t have to face your dentophobia alone, in fact, finding someone you can rely on can be extremely helpful and therapeutic, ask someone that you trust to give go to the dentist with you; if the doctor is ok with it, ask them to sit next to your during the procedure. Taking on your fears is always easier when you have someone to support you.
Tell your doctor about your fear
This is probably one of the most important steps; don’t try to hide your fear out of shame, be open and upfront, dentists are well aware of the emotions they evoke on their patients, and a good dentist will take every precaution to make you feel safe.