Whether it was a bad experience from the past or a general fear of the situation, dental phobias can cause untold misery and poor health. A phobia is a fear that has become overwhelming to you. While anxiety about certain situations are common, when that fear becomes debilitating it becomes a phobia. Having a phobia is actually pretty common, so please know that you are not alone and you are not crazy.
If you have a dental phobia, you likely have been avoiding the dentist for quite a while. You may feel that you will never be able to have healthy teeth and feel hopeless. You may be avoiding smiling or even socializing for fear that you will be harshly judged for missing teeth. Your life is not as rich and enjoyable as it could be due to the condition of your mouth, and poor dental hygiene could endanger your life. Heart disease has been linked to dental health.
The solution to overcoming a dental phobia lies within you. You can overcome your fears one step at at time. What follows are the key steps to helping yourself overcome your fears without the inconvenience or expense of a professional therapist.
Face the fear
You can only overcome the fear by knowing about it and gradually allowing yourself to experience it a tiny bit at a time. Many times the big picture is too scary. Broken down into small, doable steps you will achieve success little by little. Make a list of steps that you feel comfortable accomplishing and only do what you are comfortable with doing. For example,
- Find an online forum for dental phobias and read it daily.
- Find a dentist that you feel will work with your issues.
- Drive by the dentist office; then park, then go to the door.
- Go in and just say hi to the receptionist.
- Make an appointment just to meet the dentist (no exam, just to talk)
And so on.
Learn to relax
The physical sensations of anxiety can be crippling, so learning calming techniques can be very helpful Many have found success with practicing deep breathing and meditation.
Make a list of your negative thoughts about going to the dentist, then refute the negative statement with a positive statement. For example, if you feel that you might be too scared to have your teeth examined, figure out what is troubling you and imagine how you will discus this with the dentist beforehand.
By following the above tips you can successfully drive your phobia away and triumph over your dental care phobia. You have the solution to overcoming your fears within you, and soon you will really have a lot to smile about.