“Overcoming Your Fear of the Dentist” – How to Prepare for a Trip to the Dentist

This is a detailed list of things that you can do to overcome your fear of the dentist.

1. Stay Calm: Starting with the most important, stay calm and remind yourself that dentists work all day long and they have seen it all before. If you have already started feeling lightheaded, then take deep breaths.

2. Get Dental-Ready: Brush your teeth for at least two minutes every day, use dental floss once a day and rinse your mouth with water after eating or drinking something acidic (i.e., soda). Make sure you are using a toothpaste that is fluoride-free if you are allergic!

3. Take Good Care of Your Teeth: Brush your teeth every day after you eat a meal, gargle with mouthwash every day and floss every night before bed! If your teeth are sensitive, try using a fluoride-free toothpaste or use interdental brushes. You may also want to consider getting sealants or whitening your teeth at the dentist’s office.

4. Expect the Unexpected: Odds are, if you are going to have to go to the dentist, you are going to have many things go wrong with your teeth! Expect it and handle it accordingly when it happens.

5. Create an Emergency Kit: This can be just a small box with everything you need to handle an emergency. If the dentist says you have a cavity, it is best to let them know as soon as possible. The sooner they can take steps to repair or fill the cavity, the less damage it will do to your mouth!

6. Let Someone Know You are Afraid: Most dentists are understanding and patient, but let your dentist know you are afraid of the dentist beforehand so he/she can help ease your mind by giving advice on things you can do (like self-hypnosis) that may work for you.

7. Take Time to Relax: It is not fun to be in a dental chair, but it is important to keep your dentist informed on how you are feeling so they know if you’re okay with the procedure.

8. Talk to Dental Professionals: Most of us know that there are groups of people, for example, doctors and nurses, that we can talk to about things we are worried about. Dentists are the same way and there are many groups we can join for support and advice.

9. Accept Your Situation: The worst part about going to the dentist is having a cavity or other dental problem that needs immediate attention. If you need to go to the dentist, accept your situation and know you are in excellent hands.

10. Accept Treatment: Do not be afraid of dental treatment. Procedures like fillings, root canals and crowns are all necessary most times for dental problems. It is okay if you are afraid that something will happen, but do not be afraid to receive the treatment when it happens! It is all part of having good oral health!

11. Relax: If you are already at the dentist’s office, relax and enjoy yourself! Most dentists allow their patients a small amount of free time if they prefer not to watch TV or listen to music while undergoing treatment, like x-rays or cleaning.

12. Do Your Research: Research about dental work you are worried about before having a procedure done. Sometimes, there are home remedies that can help, but if you are having a root canal or crown done, research is vital to making sure the result will meet your expectations!

13. Develop an Emergency Strategy: Have an emergency contact on your phone and know how to contact them in case something goes wrong!

14. Be Patient: Dental procedures usually take longer than you think and the dentist and assistant want to do things right for you! They will be as efficient as possible to make sure you are comfortable during treatment and safe afterwards.

15. Follow Instructions: If the assistant or dental hygienist you are working with gives you any instructions, do what they ask! They are there to help and know what they are doing.

16. Ask Questions: Everyone is different and has different situations going on in their lives. If any question arises in your mind, do not be afraid to ask

17. Be Open-Minded: Do not be afraid to listen to what the dentist says, even if it seems silly to you! Be open-minded and willing to learn about what you can do in the future to prevent dental problems.

18. Try to relax as Much as Possible: It is hard, but try to relax as much as possible without calling into question what the dentist or assistant is doing!

19. Realize it Could be Worse: Having a cavity filled or other dental treatment done is obviously not a walk in the park, but remember that at least it could be worse! You could have multiple cavities, an abscessed tooth or gum disease!

20. Write your concerns in advance: If you feel overwhelmed, tell someone who can help or write it down so that when you come back for your next appointment, your concerns are clearly stated.