1 in 7 Brits would rather endure a divorce than go to the dentist. That is a frightening statistic and displays the sheer hold that dental phobia can have over people in today's world.
Don't Let Dental Phobia Damage Your Teeth Anymore!
Studies have shown that between 13% and 24% of people have some kind of dental phobia or fear of the dentist. Advice for this type of suffering is difficult to give. Usually due to the fact that those giving advice are not actually suffering themselves and so cannot completely understand the stress and anxiety a trip to the dentist can give to some people.
So How Can We Help Those With Dental Phobia?
Our team at Bamboo Dental in Cardiff sat down with several sufferers of dental phobia and discussed the methods and practices that they use to keep calm and to get through their dental appointment with as little stress as possible. A wide range of ideas to calm yourself down were shared amongst the group and we have collated them here. They may just be able to help you too!
1. Distraction Can Help You Through Dental Phobia
"My tactic when visiting the dentist is to distract myself. I do this by putting on my over-ear headphones and then play music with a high tempo. This helps me get into a different mindset closer to times when I have been happy in the past.
I usually do this in the waiting room right up to when they call me in. I find that starting in the waiting room relaxes me before I enter the war zone that is the dental surgery."
2. Meditation Could Get You Through Dental Phobia!
"I have tried many things to calm myself down but have found that discretely meditating gives me the best results. Dental phobia can take over the mind, it can lead you down paths that are simply outrageous.
It is easy to start overthinking what will happen when you get into the surgery but by meditating you can quieten the mind and forget about everything that is going on. The great thing about this is that i can also do it whilst in the surgery to help keep myself relaxed."
3. What About When You Are in the Surgery?
"I thank my dentist for helping me not quite get over but more cope with my dental fear. The dentist has a tv situated up on the ceiling so that when you lean back in the chair you can watch it. It serves as a good way to concentrate on something other than the fact a dentist is about to put instruments in your mouth!
It's something that I never thought would make such a difference to me but it was a great way to keep my mind distracted from what was really going on."
4. Talk to Your Dentist About Your Dental Phobia
"It is important to remember that your dentist is a human being too. They understand that people have fears and I have found, myself, that they are the best people to talk to about it.
After nearly having a breakdown in the dental chair my dentist sat next to me and asked me about what I feared. I discussed this with him and found that the more we talked about it the more at ease I felt with him. The whole idea of the dentist never felt as scary in the future. I would strongly recommend anyone suffering dental phobia to just try talking to your dentist. It really does help!"
5. The Spiritual Solution to Dental Phobia
"A friend suggested to me that I should focus my thoughts on my environment rather than the situation that I am in. As soon as I sit in the chair I let my mind listen to all of the sounds in the dental surgery, I feel my weight on the dental chair, I feel the firmness of it. I then feel how my body is being supported and let my mind wonder where it wants to go. I find that when doing this, it never wonders to the anxious feelings that I usually have.
Oh, also, I keep my eyes closed throughout the whole time I am in the chair. This lets me keep the illusion in place of being at one with the environment rather than going through some stressful activity. It's kind of different to meditation, rather than blocking everything out, I just think more deeply through all of my senses at the same time. This keeps me busy and before I know it my visit to the dentist is over!"
6. Use a Stress ball!
"For me, a visit to the dentist scares me as much as giving birth, and i've had three kids! I know that I made it through those times with the help of my husbands hand to squeeze. So, I have this soft stress ball type thing. I take this into the room with me and hold on tight. As the anxiety increases I squeeze the ball harder and harder.
This has two advantages for me. Firstly it releases stress. It gives me a way to push the bad energy out of my body and also distracts me a little in the process. Secondly, the dentist can keep an eye on my squeezing. If he sees that the intensity has increased by a large amount then he checks that I am okay to continue with the treatment. This puts my mind at ease knowing that I have some signal to the dentist as to how I am feeling as it is impossible to vocalise it when you have utensils in your mouth."
We hope that these accounts from other sufferers have helped you find out a few methods that you can use to beat your dental phobia. Not all solutions will work for everyone and so it is important to persist and keep trying different things until you find that perfect kryptonite to your dental anxiety.