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How To Keep Calm When Visiting The Dentist
Everybody has to visit the dentist at some time in their lives whether its for a regular visit or because they have bad toothache or a broken tooth. Unless they are in so much pain that they really don't care whether its going to hurt or not most of us have time to think about what the dentist is going to do. And more importantly, is it going to hurt.
We begin to sweat, our breathing gets shallow and sometimes people have been known to pass out just at the thought of visiting the dentist. I have often seen patients so scared while sitting in the waiting room, that they actually go white, shake and have had to go to the rest room to be sick. Nerves are not something that you can control if you allow yourself to get in such a state. I know it sounds impossible, but there are a few things that you can do to stop yourself panicking when visiting the dentist.
According to nurses, men hate the idea of jabs or shots more than women. I discovered this after having blood tests done. Three times more men pass out just at the thought of an injection than women.
So the thought of having an injection to numb the tooth is one of the main causes of panic. Of course women fear the needle too. The pain of the actual dental work comes in a close second.
As we all know, the horror of not being in control of the pain we are going to have is the trigger for our fear. The idea of pain can cause the actual event to feel much worse purely because the patient has built it up in their mind. By the time their appointment arrives they have worked themselves up into such a frenzy that the slightest touch of the dentists hands will send them into a full blown panic attack.
Knowledge Is Power
- Learn as much as you can about the dentist you are going to be seeing. Is he or she using the most up to date equipment? Sometimes we fear the dentist purely because we have had either a bad experience in the past with a substandard dentist, or it was so long ago the dental equipment was old fashioned and painful. For example the needles were longer and thicker, and the pain medication was frightening.
- Maybe being knocked out frightened you? These days the dentist uses state of the art equipment. The needles are small and if not completely pain free, then at least they are bearable. The dentists themselves are much more friendly, and will talk to you step by step through the procedure. If you are feeling pain or discomfort they will stop to let you rest.
- Ask to see the dentist before your appointment. Talk to him about your fears and allow him to put your mind at ease. By just seeing where he works and what the equipment looks like, it should calm you down.
- Ask your doctor or dentist if it is possible that you can take a mild tranquiliser before you have your treatment. The majority of the time you will be given one as long as it doesn't affect any medication you may be taking for another illness.
- Take someone with you. Just by having a friend or family member by your side should calm you down.
- Talk to other patients at the dentist surgery. See how they feel when they have had their treatment. Just by listening to what they have to say will cause you to calm down and see things in a rational manner.
- Over the course of the week before you go, learn deep breathing exercises. Maybe learn self hypnosis by listening to tapes or Cd's. The pain of having a tooth done is halved just by the fact that you are calming your body and mind.
- Listen to music while you are waiting in the surgery. Take a CD player or iPod and play your favorite songs, or try something calming like classical. Music really does have an effect on the pain sensors in your brain.
- If you are going on your own, try to sit with your mouth closed and breath gently. It's a fact that by keeping the mouth closed you will find that your nerves will go. The reason is that when we open our mouth when in a panicky state, we take in too much air and it causes us to hyperventilate. This will make you feel faint and panic more.
- Slowly rub your arms in a circular motion. Touch is a powerful weapon against fear and panic. Just the feeling of your hand on the skin will instantly sooth you. Better still get someone else to do it. The point is to try and concentrate on something else. Your cell phone, people walking past outside the window, and anything else that will get your attention. Hopefully the dentist will have something like a fish tank in the surgery waiting room. They are there to calm you. By watching them swim, you will be slightly hypnotised and your body will start to calm down.
Just remember, your fear is three parts irrational and one part common sense. Try to see it for what it really is. A few moments in an uncomfortable situation. Just remember that the dentist is not there to hurt you. He is there to heal you. He will do everything to make you calm. And hopefully you will come away with your fear of the dentist completely gone. It doesn't have to be a frightening experience as long as you put it into perspective.
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