Dental fear is incredibly common among adult Americans. In fact, an estimated 80 million Americans have some level of dental fear. While the team at our dental office in Chapel Hill certainly understands that being afraid of the dentist is a very real thing, we also always want to try our best to help our patients and neighbors understand how they can overcome that fear and, dare we say, start to enjoy visits to the dentist.
Top Causes of Dental Fear
Dental fear can be brought on by a number of different things, but some of the most common reasons include fear of pain, embarrassment, losing control, or a negative past experience. It’s important for you and your dental team to work together to try to identify the source behind your fear so you can work better together to overcome it.
4 Ways to Ease Dental Fear
- Talk About It. Perhaps the most important way to combat dental fear is to establish trust with your dentist in Chapel Hill. It may help if your dentist talks you through the appointment, letting you know exactly what is going to happen next and what you should expect. Discuss your concerns with your dental team to find what works best for you.
- Distract Yourself. We understand that lying down in a dental chair while we poke around in your mouth can cause some people to feel uneasy, and that’s ok. Instead of focusing on what we’re doing, it may help to have a distraction handy. Consider bringing some music and headphones to your next visit or talk with your dental team to see if they have any amenities you can take advantage of.
- Just Breathe. Practicing breathing techniques and focusing on breathing patterns has been proven to lower anxiety levels. There are numerous instructional videos online and even some courses you can take to help you. But essentially, close your eyes, take deep breaths, filling the lower part of your belly, and steadily release.
- Bring a Friend. If it’s your first dental visit in awhile, have a trusted friend tag along with you. The presence of a trusted person can go a long way in helping you feel relaxed. Make a date out of it and treat them to lunch afterwards.
We Know You Can Do It
Maintaining regular dental cleanings and checkups every six months can be especially hard for those with dental fear. But keeping up with these visits is crucial for good oral health and to avoid more in-depth treatment in the future. Bi-yearly dental appointments help identify and treat any potential problems early and are key to keeping your mouth pain-free and cavity-free.
Whether it’s been awhile since you’ve seen a dentist due to dental fear, or even if you’re just searching for a new dental home, we welcome you to call our Chapel Hill dental office to schedule an appointment. Our entire team is dedicated to treating each and every patient with the gentle care they deserve and we’d be happy to work with you on easing any fears you may have.