Tell your dentist about your fears.
It’s not uncommon for patients with dental anxiety to be so embarrassed that they don’t even share it with the number one person who needs to know. Remember, though, that your dentist has very likely encountered dental phobias before with other patients. Telling your dentist about your phobia will ensure that they can take the appropriate steps to accommodate your needs.
Get to know your dentist.
For many people, one of the most frightening parts of visiting the dentist is the thought of a scary, masked figure looming over them. However, it’s important to remember that underneath the white coat, your dentist is a real human being, just like everyone else. It may be a good idea to schedule an appointment simply to meet your dentist, discuss your fears, and get to know him or her. Recognizing your dentist as a real person will help you feel calmer when you see them beneath their medical mask.
Familiarize yourself with the tools.
It’s human nature to be afraid of sharp, pointy things—especially when they’re going in your mouth! Ask your dentist if it’s possible to hold each tool before your procedure so you can familiarize yourself with it. A good dentist will be understanding of your phobia and happy to explain what each tool is used for. You can also read up on various dental instruments online.
Establish a signal.
Before your procedure, set up a signal with your dentist, such as raising your hand, which will tell him or her to stop immediately. Being able to communicate any discomfort to your dentist will help calm your anxiety.
Remember that times have changed.
The world of dentistry is rapidly changing. If you fear the dentist due to a traumatizing incident you experienced as a child, remember that your early dental visits happened before many advancements in pain-free dentistry. New dental products and procedures are being developed every day, and you may be afraid of a procedure that isn’t even performed anymore.