Getting Over Your Fear of the DentistMay 26, 2021
Going to the dentist is high on your list of fears, but it’s also high on the list of things you need to do to stay healthy. Here’s how to prepare for the big day.
Brush Your Teeth
This advice may seem obvious, but it’s easy to forget if your appointment is in the middle of the day and you’re coming from work. Keep a spare toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss in your bag or briefcase so that you can keep your oral hygiene in top shape. That way, when your dental hygienist starts to clean your teeth with an electric dental handpiece, he or she doesn’t have too much to do.
Review Your Insurance Policy
Having insurance mix-ups when you get to your appointment won’t help your anxiety at all. Check if your health insurance policy covers dentist appointments, and if not, dig your dental insurance card out of your wallet. Call ahead and make sure your dentist still takes your insurance to avoid paying for the visit on your own.
Think of Questions
Is anything going wrong in your mouth that you want to ask your dentist about? To maximize your trip’s usefulness, think of all the things you’re worried about and write them down. For example, if your back teeth are aching or part of your gums tends to bleed, make a note to ask your dentist. Writing down your questions decreases the chances that you’ll forget to ask them in your nervousness. It also gives you something to talk about with your dentist if there’s any downtime.
Understand Your Anxiety
Thinking about why you’re nervous often helps you get over your fears. Are you insecure about your oral hygiene and worried that your dentist will judge you for the state of your teeth? Your dentist has seen the worst oral situations imaginable and is there to help you regain control over your health. Have you had bad experiences with dentists in the past? Share your past problems with your dentist and hygienist and ask them to avoid the practices or behaviors that upset you. The more you can look past your fears and see the appointment as a way of keeping yourself healthy, the less anxious you feel.
If you’re stressed about visiting the dentist, you’re in good company. Take these actions before you get to the office to reduce your fears and maximize your trip’s effectiveness.