Thursday, 28 June 2012

Overcoming a fear of dentists

Image from weheartit


So yesterday I had my first dental treatment in over 5 years... A pretty big bit of repair work to a previously filled tooth that had broken.

To put it bluntly I was shitting myself.

The only experiences I ever remembered with a dentist were bad, my old dentist was rough, made me bleed and basically scared me for what I thought was life, I never thought I would set foot in a dentist ever again. My philosophy became 'if it don't hurt don't fix it' and although my broken tooth didn't hurt I knew it was inevitable that it would one day break even more.

The sound of the drill, the sensation, the trepidation and the fear of needles just kept me away completely and it's been a fair while since my tooth first broke and as I suspected, more came off last week so I had to bite the bullet (thankfully not in a literal sense) and book in.

Honestly this time last week I did not think I'd be writing this post, and don't get me wrong I am not completely rid of my phobia, but at the end of the day I don't think the dentist will ever be a pleasant experience But my aim is to try and make it a bearable experience, so here are my top tips for getting on the road to getting a bit of confidence back.


1. Think about why you have a fear, if it is something that your current dentist has done then consider changing; I think a lot of fear derives from the association of bad things; for example my dentist always got angry if I ever got upset; he never attempted to try and put me at ease he just told me to 'shut up and stop being so stupid'... Not good when you already feel silly for being upset. Ask around your friends and Family and see who they go to or who they've heard is good.

2. If you can afford it, go private. I know this isn't for everyone because it can get very expensive depending on your treatment. A check up at my new dentist costs £60 I think whereas NHS is around £20 I believe; yes this is expensive but I see it as an investment... I know she's going to do her best not to hurt me and I know she has the patience. TIME is very pressing with NHS dentists and often they are pressed for time and need you in and out as quick as possible which is why they aren't always accommodating when you need a bit of extra support. The one I go to is a 'minimal intervention' dentist which means that they work on prevention of problems rather than the cure. Plus if you are in desperate need of treatment, they generally don't have waiting lists.

3. Walk through the door; no matter how hard it is I recommend just going into the dentist and making an appointment, even with the NHS, book in for a check up. Turn up on the day, walk into the room and explain to the dentist what the problem is; only have him/her do what you are comfortable with. For example the first time I went I was in tears as soon as I walked in, I explained the obvious (that I was petrified) and she asked me to sit on the chair, I didn't lay down I just sat and chatted for 5 minutes and then I said that I was happy to lay back and let her have a look, providing she didn't put the hook thing in my mouth or touch any of my teeth, which she was fine with... She did at one point ask to put the hook in to test one tooth which I agreed to and she was soo gentle! She then took some X-rays (easy, pain free) and finally treated my teeth with a fluoride solution (again, easy and pain free) and BAM that was it, my first dental appointment over with and I walked out wondering what I fussed about. REMEMBER that YOU are paying the dentist to provide a service, whether NHS or private and you do not have to let them do anything you don't want, providing you are polite the dentist should be very obliging and understand your needs.

4. ASK for anything... Dentistry nowadays is way more advanced than it was even 5 years ago, I didn't know numbing gel even existed so when I had an anaesthetic injection I asked for plenty of numbing gel and she really did coat my whole gum in the stuff which meant that I didn't even feel the injection going in! Some dentists also have new technology called 'air abrasion' which means that where possible they will not use a drill; basically they blast away the bits of decay with tiny particles which makes it relatively noise and pain free!! At the end of the day... If you don't ask, you don't get.


5. Occupy your mind. If you actually get sat down in a dentist chair, first of all MASSIVE WELL DONE, be proud of yourself and second of all try and keep your mind occupied, it might sound totally daft and you might think it will never work but it does for me... I close my eyes and wiggle my toes, the right side 10 times and the left side 10 times, just the counting from side to side makes you think of something other than what's going on in your mouth.


6. Reward yourself, I know dentist treatment is expensive in itself but try and give yourself a treat afterwards; whether it's a lipstick you've been umm-ing and ahh-ing over for ages or just a takeaway later that night... Rewards aren't just for children, they work for adults too!!! My reward last night was an indian takeaway because I'd not had one in ages!



I hope this has helped someone in some way, if it gets one of my readers to a dentist after a number of years then I will be very happy... Trust me I never thought I would ever visit a dentist except unlesss I was totally sedated but I have broken the barriers and the feeling when Id had my filling was immense, I felt so proud of myself!!!

Please, Please, Please try and go, I know I sound like your mum now but I really regret leaving it so long because your teeth are such an important part of your body; everyone looks at them when you talk and healthy looking teeth will make you far more confident... and most importantly we all know how painful tooth ache is, so don't let it get to that stage!!


Anyway, enough of being Mother Hen... Are you scared of the dentist??
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19 comments

  1. Oh my life what a great post! I hadn't been to the dentist for 6 years because of my fear, and I could feel a hole in one of my back teeth and I just had to go too then. I wish I'd of had this post before hand! I walked into the room and felt like a right idiot because I burst into uncontrollable tears because I was so petrified! I had gone private too though, and they have really helped me overcome my fears and I'm not half as scared now! Well done for going too, it's a big thing to overcome! xXx
    tilldazzled.blogspot.com

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    1. Private is the way forward, glad you feel better now xx

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  2. This is such a great post. I had to go to the dentist last year. I was trying to be grown up about it, but when it started to hurt I just got so horribly upset. The dentist and nurse seemed a bit taken back, and I felt really silly for being so scared. Their shocked reactions only made me cry more. The dentist said he did not feel comfortable treating me and that he didn't have time for me to calm down. I feel better hearing that I am not the only one who gets so upset. I think I will invest in going to a private practice and try again :)

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    1. Don't worry I was crying before I even got in the room last time, just because I was so scared of the unknown but once I was numbed I was fine x

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  3. Great post! I've never been as afraid as you seemed to have been, as I've never had a bad dental experience. My teeth are filling free and I'm only usually in the chair about 10mins from a check up. I do get incredibly nervous about the dentist though, and feel physically sick when I get into the chair. I act calm and hope the dentist doesn't notice that I'm bricking it. Haha. I hadn't had a check up from the age of 16-21, as I went off to uni, and during A levels my parents forgot to take me, so I thought it was time to get my ass in gear, re-register with the dentist and get myself looked at. Thankfully I was easily registered with the same practice, and the dentist was very nice and efficient. She gave my teeth a good clean which they needed, and then told me to return in 6 months, so I did, now I've upgraded to return in 9 months. I do feel better after leaving the dentist, as you know that an expert thinks your teeth are ok, and gives them a more thorough clean.

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  4. I've had to have root canal twice this year, the only thing that got me through it was thinking about my upcoming holiday!!x

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  5. Great post! I really need to get over my fear of the dentist, it's awful, I literally haven't been in around ten years :( I used to hate it when they made me gag by shoving that horrid stick down my throat! Luckily I have never had any major trouble with my teeth so I have gotten away with not going!


    Frances xx

    http://francescassandra.blogspot.co.uk

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  6. I'm quite scared of the dentist, I also know a girl who has a fear of going to the dentists but wants to be one! x

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  7. I have an absolutely ridiculous fear of the dentist - I've had to get quite a bit done in the last while, but then I didn't go back for a while as I was trying to save up for more, & now I'm afraid to return! I know I'd be better going regularly, because I'd have to get so much less done, but it's irrational! My dentist is lovely, but he chats & laughs away with his nurse which kind of makes me nervous somehow. Your post really cheered me up, to see that I'm not the only one!
    verylovelystuff.blogspot.ie xx

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    1. Don't feel silly, just by doing this post I've realised that I am not alone!! He shouldn't be chatting and that when youre there it's so unprofessional but don't leave it too late because prevention is better than the cure!!

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  9. It is a good thing that you have overcome your fear of going to the dentist. It is not just for making your teeth to look good, but it is also to make the inside of your whole mouth healthier. I agree with #4, dental procedure can be painless with the innovation of technology nowadays. And they will hear you out since you’re important as a patient.



    @Darren Heist

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  15. Good for you, Jade. Fears that stem from really bad experiences could leave us traumatized. But being afraid all the time won’t fix the problem. I’m glad you took the initiative to do something about your fear. Getting over that fear is a total relief for you and your tooth. =) David @ AllenTownFamilyDentist.com

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