When it comes to dental phobia there is some what of a snowball effect that can take over your action. If you give in to the phobia then the anxiety feeds into itself on an endlessly worsening loop until it can become incredibly difficult to overcome. It's up to you to intervene this cycle and turn it around!
The Downward Spiral of Dental Phobia
This is an all too familiar hole that many dental phobia sufferers find themselves digging. You may start with with perfectly fine teeth. They are healthy and in good condition. But one day you felt some anxiety. Enough anxiety to stop you attending that check up. You thought, 'well it's just this once'. It usually isn't. By the time the next appointment comes around you may be experiencing a little tooth ache. Now your once healthy teeth are starting to have problems. If you felt anxious about visiting the dentist for a check up when your teeth were healthy, imagine the anxiety you will now feel when you know there is something that needs correcting! This is the start of the downward spiral. If you don't visit the dentist again then your issues will get worse and worse until you may be left with an extremely uncomfortable visit to the dentist to finally get your issue sorted. Don't let it get to this stage. You need to intervene that downward spiral before it goes any deeper.
The Upward Spiral of Dental Phobia
This is where you want to be. As you get onto the upward spiral you will see your dental phobia disappear so quickly you will wonder what all the fuss was about. As soon as you break the bad habit and finally take the plunge to visit the dentist you will realise that you can cope. You will have anything that needs fixing fixed. Next time you are due for an appointment it will be so much easier. Why? Because your teeth will be in better shape and more importantly you will have built up that reference experience to teach your brain that it's okay. You will be okay. Now each time you visit the dentist it will get a little easier and easier until you have exposed yourself to the anxiety enough times that you barely feel it anymore. Once you reach this stage it is important to visit your dentist every six months. Failure to do so may land you back in the downward spiral.
How Do I Get the Ball Rolling?
Of course what we've just said is easy to say. It is much harder to take that first step in practice. Here are some great ways that you can alleviate the stress and anxiety when you start taking action to get in the upward spiral.
1. Distract the Mind
It is hard for the mind to concentrate on more than one thing at once. You can use this to your advantage. How? By choosing something such as music or television to occupy your mind enough so that it is distracted away from painting irrational futures into your head. Many dental practices now will offer you to play your own music and many will also have TV screens built up on the ceiling that you can watch to keep your thoughts at bay.
When allowed to the mind can be an open floodgate of anxious thoughts and worrying predictions. An incredibly effective way of dealing with this is through meditation. Meditation allows you to see these thoughts, accept them and let them pass. Eventually you will be able to find quiet in your mind where these thoughts no longer pop up. At this point you will free from all of your dental anxiety.
3. Talk to your Dentist!
As daunting as it may sound, opening up to your dentist can often be the best possible route towards overcoming your phobia as quickly as possible. Although it may feel like it, you aren't the first one to feel such immense fright for the dental surgery. That makes most dentists incredibly practised in understanding and helping these types of people. If you haven't tried talking to your dentist yet then I would strongly advise it. They are an expert in helping people just like you.
4. Channel your Frustration
Have you ever watched a movie where a woman is giving birth? Or perhaps you have been there in person. Either way I am sure you would have noticed the stereotypical heavy squeezing of the partners hand. Why does the mother do this? Well, it diverts the attention away from the pain of giving birth. You can do the same thing with your dental anxiety. Only we advise you to use a stress ball instead!
If you are feeling any form of dental anxiety right now then it is very important that you take control. Do not let it lead you down a path that you cannot find your way out of. Use some of the techniques mentioned above to help you take that first step to seeing your dentist for a check up. After your first visit you will feel much more comfortable and be able to attend subsequent visits much more easily. Your dental hygiene is incredibly important not only for the condition of your teeth but for the rest of your body too. It is not something to neglect. Now you have the power to take action and overcome your fear so go forth and book your dental check up right now!