Choose Your Dentist Wisely
I’d always been of the ilk that you find the local dentist to you, go there and that’s about it! After all, that’s what we did when we were kids.
However, things have moved on such a long way since then. So, when I started looking for a dentist, I realised that they come in so many different shapes and sizes. Some small, some large, some chains, some independent. How on earth was I to choose. So I made the decisions based on the following;
1. Looking at as many reviews of the practice as I could find. This also meant that if I couldn’t find any reviews then I decided it wasn’t the one for me!
2. Checking out what types of specialisms they did. I wanted to find a dentist which would offer me everything under one roof if I could, rather than forever begin referred onwards!
3. Phoning the practice for a chat. To me, the manner of the receptionists often tells you everything you need to know about how the practice is going to treat it’s patients.
4. I have a terrible gag reflex, so I knew I needed to find somewhere which did external x-rays rather than the internal ones, so I called them all up to ask!
This then gave me a list of dentists (a rather short list but that was good), to start with.
Make A Pre-Consultation Visit
This was a huge game changer for me when I was trying to overcome fear of the dentist. I wasn’t really sure what I was frightened of (obviously the pain though!), and I needed to know that the dentist was going to listen to me. I really didn’t want to go somewhere and be ‘told off’ for not looking after my teeth properly. After all, I already knew that! So I made some pre-consultation appointments to just have a chat.
Boy, were these illuminating! Knowing I wasn’t going to have anything done made the visit much easier, and gave me a chance to see what the waiting room felt like and what the dentist’s bedside manner was. I couldn’t believe the difference!
In one dentist, before even really chatting to me, the dentist said that it was my fault for not going regularly, and he wanted me to come back to show me how to brush my teeth properly. Ummmm…no thank you! In another, the dentist didn’t take his mask off the whole time I was there, and pretty much didn’t look at me at all. When I mentioned that I had a bad gag reflex, he said that he would do the work needed as a guess and let me know when I was in the chair how much it was going to cost! Again that’d be a no! A
The one I actually chose in the end met all of my criteria. They had a lovely waiting room that felt like you were in a spa – music playing, nice smells and a TV on the wall. All the staff were smiling and happy to see us which was lovely, and the dentist looked delighted to meet us. I sat in the chair for 20 minutes whilst we chatted about how I was feeling, and he was really calm and explained exactly how he worked. I’ve never felt so calm in a dentist!
Talk About Timings
Ask For Explanations
The other thing I realised about my fear was, it was mainly because I didn’t know what was going to happen. I felt very out of control and was almost waiting for the pain! However, I now ask the dentist to explain exactly what he is going to do. He tells me when he is doing the injection, explains the tools he is going to use and why, and gives me a running commentary so I know when he’s almost done. I hadn’t realised how much this helped me to overcome fear of the dentist!
The other thing I have discovered since finding my lovely dentist and having my first filling and tooth extraction is – it doesn’t hurt! Not one bit!!! Well, the injection isn’t particularly nice – but that only last 10 seconds maximum, and nothing else he has done has hurt at all! I spend a LONG time reading up on procedures before I went in, and was almost done in by all the horror stories. I have a super low pain threshold so was positive I’d feel everything. But not at all! In fact when he was doing the filling, I almost fell asleep I was so relaxed!
So there you have it. If you want to overcome fear of the dentist, then definitely try the above actions. They really have made the world of difference to me. I can’t say that I look forward to going, but I certainly don’t dread it any more!
I’d love to know if you have any other tips on how to overcome fear of the dentist! Let me know in the comments!