Is your phobia of the dentist damaging your health?
If you are one of the thousands of people who fear going to the dentist, you will probably be very much aware of the complexity behind it? Many people are put off going to the dentist due to the spreading of dental myths, or horror stories, from friends or colleagues. Whilst these can be scary, they can add to deeper fears creating a phobic reaction. Other reasons for dental phobia include fear of the needle, fear of the anaesthetic, fear of choking, fear of the drill or the suction equipment, and more.
Added to this, as with many types of phobias, additional fears can develop. For example, if someone hasn’t visited the dentist for some time, the fear of embarrassment of how they will react or how the dentist will react reinforces the phobia.
Whatever your difficulty in visiting the dentist, the most important thing is to go – however that is easier said than done if you’ve got dental phobia.
So, what can you do?
1. Tell your dentist – they want you to get check-ups and treatment (if you need it), so talk to your dentist and ask them to work with you to support you and help you.
2. Learn distraction techniques; mindfulness skills or relaxation skills so that you can use them when at the dentist.
3. Tell a friend and ask them to go with you.
4. Challenge your fears and negative thoughts – most people know that their fears are irrational, so challenge yourself and your thoughts.
5. Try some CBT or EMDR sessions – for further information read these two articles CBTand EMDR