Fear of the dentist is a condition that affects many of us, especially if we do not go regularly. Many people get so anxious that their oral health suffers, gums become infected, chronic gum disease starts, teeth begin to decay and abscesses form.
To-day there are many methods and techniques to help overcome anxiety so that going to the dentist becomes more comfortable. A survey by the British Dental Association found that 25% of people feared visiting the dentist.
There are varying degrees of fear of the dentist. The most common is a fear of the unknown. The next is dental fear, which is a reaction to a known danger. For instance you may have had a bad time at the dentists when you were younger, and you worry about it happening again, will it hurt, will I vomit? The highest level is dental phobia which is similar to dental fear but much worse, and it is also the result of unpleasant past experiences, which usually caused you pain.
So what may you be frightened of?
- A fear of needles
- A fear of dental instruments in your mouth.
- The worry you might vomit.
- Unsympathetic dentists.
- Bad childhood experiences
- Fear of the drill
- Fear of anaesthetic
- Feeling vulnerable
There are three factors that tend to keep your fear of the dentist going.
- Sensitisation, (you find it difficult going to the dentist)
- Avoidance, (you stop going to the dentist)
- Negative, distorted self talk. (which terrifies you)
A dental phobia develops when you become sensitized to the dentist, in other words, when anxiety becomes conditioned or associated with that situation.
If panic suddenly arises while you pick up the phone to make the appointment, or when you are on your way to the dentists, you may start feeling anxious every time you’re in one of these situations. Becoming sensitized means that the mere thought of the dentist may be enough to trigger anxiety automatically.
After sensations occurs you may tend to avoid the situation. Repeated avoidance is very rewarding because it saves you from having to feel any anxiety.
Avoidance is the most powerful way to hold on to a phobia or fear, because it prevents you from ever learning that you can handle it.
The third factor that perpetuates fears of going to the dentist, is distorted self talk. The more worry and anticipatory anxiety you experience about something you fear, the more likely you are to be involved in unconstructive self talk connected with that fear. You may also have negative images about what could happen if you go to the dentists, or about your worst fears coming true. Both the negative self talk and negative image serve to perpetuate your fears, guaranteeing that you remain afraid. They also undermine your confidence that you can ever get over your fear. Without negative self talk and negative images you would be much more likely to overcome your avoidance and go to the dentists comfortably. This is where hypnotherapy can help you. Hypnotherapy can get rid of all sorts of fears and phobias in a comfortable relaxing way.
The first thing to do is to find an understanding dentist and you will find that if you visit regularly you will start to feel very confident, and that confidence will grow stronger every time you visit, and the best thing of all is that you will have lovely white teeth and sweet smelling breath.
I can honestly say that I suffered dental phobia for years, until I found a wonderful dentist and a good hypnotherapist who cured me of my fears.
Ask your friends and colleagues if they can recommend a dentist who looks after anxious patients A dentist who is a good listener can go a long way towards relieving your anxieties. It is also important that you can talk about your fears and concerns with your dentist and feel at ease doing this. There are many approaches he/she can use to relieve your anxiety.
- Relaxation and distraction techniques
- Pain free injection
- Listening carefully to you, giving you time.
- Explaining the procedures
You might also say to yourself – how can hypnosis help me to get rid of my phobia?
That’s one of the many problems hypnotherapy deals with.
Hypnotherapists use many techniques to help rid you of your phobia, often using NLP as well. They often start the session by using breathing and relaxation techniques, followed by working with the negative self talk, and changing it to positive calm thinking,
During the session you will also imagine the process of making an appointment on the telephone, imagining yourself feeling calm and confident as you do so, you will see yourself feeling relaxed and calm in the moments leading up to the appointment. You will think of yourself going into the dental surgery for a check up, all the time feeling confident and safe.
When you actually go to the dentist again you can feel more calm and relaxed.
*Disclaimer: Results may vary from person to person