Even as an adult, it can be easy to experience more than a little passing trepidation about sitting in the dentist's chair. As many as 40 million Americans have some degree of anxiety about going to their dentist, according to oral hygiene company Colgate. Contending with this fear, however, can be detrimental to your oral hygiene. A significant dental phobia can lead you to avoid routine dental checkups, which can result in problems with your teeth and gums that require extensive work to fix. Getting over your dental phobia isn't simply as easy as telling yourself to do so; instead, you can take any number of simple steps to tackle this problem yourself or with the help of others. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Commitment To Relaxation
It's easier to deal with life's stressful moments if you learn to relax through a practice such as yoga or mediation. Although yoga classes offer many physical benefits, look for a class that has a relaxing nature -- yin yoga, for example, is an ideal way to allow your tension to melt away. Taking one of these classes before your dental appointment or performing a routine in the comfort of home can help release your body's stress. Meditation is an activity that you can learn in the weeks leading up to your appointment and even practice in the dentist's chair. Load a meditation routine into your MP3 player or smartphone -- a basic body scan meditation is perfect for beginners -- and listen to it during your checkup.
Help From Strangers
Run an Internet search for "dental phobia support group" or "dental anxiety support group" and you'll find scores of sites that can help you connect with others who are dealing with the same issue. Though forum posts, instant message and emails, you'll be able to find a bond with complete strangers and get not only support, but also advice and strategies for dealing with this common situation. Connecting with others online can give you the strength you need to overcome your phobia -- and perhaps best of all, it doesn't cost anything.
Sure, it's not ideal to bribe your children to get them to do something they don't want to do, but there's no harm in trying this strategy on yourself. If you're anxious about scheduling your first dental checkup in a few years, think of a reward you can give yourself for making the call to your dentist. For example, treat yourself to food from your favourite take-out restaurant or buy a new piece of clothing. When you attend the appointment, opt for a larger reward, such as tickets to a concert or sporting event.