Let’s start from the beginning every behaviour has a start.

Fear / Scared / Angry / Anxious / Uncomfortable is a common emotions induced by perceived danger or threat, which causes physiological changes and ultimately behavioural  changes, such as fleeing, hiding, or freezing from perceived traumatic events.

This may occur in response to a certain stimulus occurring in the present, or in anticipation or expectation of a future threat perceived as a risk to oneself. The fear response arises from the perception of danger leading to confrontation with or escape from/avoiding the threat (also known as the fight-or-flight response), and in some cases you may experience  a freeze response or paralysis.

Fear is closely related to the emotion anxiety, which occurs as the result of threats that are perceived to be uncontrollable or unavoidable. This serves survival by engendering appropriate behavioural responses, Sociological research also suggests that individuals’ fears are not solely dependent on their nature but are also shaped by their social relations and culture, which guide their understanding of when is the right moment or time to react to an certain event.

 

A fear of the dentist could possibly stem from one of the following :

  • Previous bad experiences.
  • Maybe your fear stems from panic or worry that your treatment will cause you pain.
  • Heard / read horror stories from others or movies.
  • Raised with a fear of the dentist, Your mindset regarding dentistry was established before you set foot in a dental practice.
  • Unfirmiliar with the unexpected.

There is many more factors to add to the above list, every individual has a different story to tell.

 

Tips to ease dental fear :

If you’re anxious about seeing the dentist, here are some tips to ease the fear:

  • Find an understanding dentist. Ask friends and family.
  • Once you’ve found someone you think may be suitable, visit the surgery to have a look around, meet the receptionist and dentist and see the environment.
  • Inform the dentist that you’re anxious and what your fears are, so they know beforehand.
  • Pick an appointment time early in the morning so you have less time to dwell on it.
  • Don’t cancel / reschedule because of emotions. 
  • The first appointment will simply be a check-up so don’t worry about having any treatment.
  • See this first visit as your chance to get to know the dentist.
  • Take a friend with you to your appointment. The dentist won’t mind if they accompany you throughout the check-up or treatment.
  • Agree on hand / eye signals with your dentist that you need a break and want them to stop. It can be as simple as pointing your finger or blinking and will help you feel more in control.
  • Start gradually with a clean and polish then work up to other treatments, such as fillings, once you’ve built up trust with the practice and surroundings.
  • Schedule enough time if you know you are going to discuss your fears etc it makes the whole environment more relaxed.
  • Use headphones to listen to music during your visit. We have headphones at De Necker Dentistry It may help you relax.
  • Schedule your next appointment while you are there, We will remind you a day prior to your appointment even if it is your next 6 months check up.
  • Familiarise your little one with dentistry.

Frightened little girl at dentist office covered mouth with hands.

 

Dentistry has evolved and makes it easier to cope.

Dental treatment has been completely transformed over the years. Dentists are much more aware and ready to help patients who suffer anxiety at the dentist. Dental surgeries, treatment and equipment have also been updated and makes procedures much more comfortable .  De Necker Dentistry has a different approach to our whole environment, Our rooms and surroundings are specifically decorated to make our patients feel comfortable, staff are trained to handle nervous patients.

It’s possible for dental treatment to cause little to no pain to patients. Numbing gels are used to numb the gum area before you are given injections and the injections themselves have been developed to cause little to no pain this is a technique that De Necker Dentistry will not practice without.

Whatever caused your fear of the dentist it’s important to seek help because avoiding dental care can lead to serious and even irreversible damage to your teeth and overall oral health.

De Necker Dentistry
Written by Chantel Vermaak, Dental assistant @De Necker Dentistry
Resources : Wikipedia
https://www.nhsinform.scot/healthy-living/dental-health/visiting-the-dentist/coping-with-a-fear-of-the-dentist
https://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/anxiety-type/dental-phobia/