Many people worry about going to the dentist. You may be very
nervous and may actually feel sick to your stomach. Some people become so
nervous that they just don't go to the dentist. But this can lead to
serious problems, including infected gums and teeth, difficulty chewing, and
lack of self-confidence because of bad teeth or bad breath.
To help get over being nervous about the dentist, it is helpful to
first understand why you may be nervous. Reasons include:
Having had a painful or bad experience at the
dentist, including insensitive comments made during your visit. The smell of
the office or seeing or hearing the dental tools (such as the sound of a drill)
may bring this back.
Feeling helpless or out of control. Being
confined to the chair and not being able to speak and communicate may cause
this. The precautions your dentist takes, such as wearing a mask and gloves,
may add to this feeling.
Being embarrassed about the condition of
Hearing about others' bad experiences at the dentist
or being influenced by how TV, newspapers, or magazines portray them.
Fearing the unknown, including the procedures your dentist
To help feel less nervous about a dental visit, try the
Talk about your fears. Tell your dentist that you
are nervous, and try to explain why. This way your dentist can do everything
possible to put you at ease.
Ask your dentist about what is going
to happen and why. If you understand the steps of getting a filling, for
example, you may feel less nervous about it. Ask your dentist to tell you when
he or she is moving from one step in a procedure to another
Make your dental visit at a time when you are not rushed or
under pressure. An early morning, late afternoon, or Saturday may be the best
time, as you may not have to worry about missing school or work.
the sound of a drill bothers you, ask your dentist if he or she has music and
headphones. If not, bring your own audio player and
Agree on hand signals to communicate pain, discomfort,
or the need for a break.
Use relaxation techniques. As you sit in
the chair, try deep breathing or thinking about a favorite activity or place.
Don't be afraid to switch dentists. If you talk to your dentist
and feel that he or she is not listening or not making an effort to help you
feel at ease, try another dentist. Tell your friends about your fears, and ask
them about their dentists.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.