Dental anxiety is no joke for millions of individuals who have a legitimate fear of sitting in a chair and having their teeth cleaned, poked, and pulled. If you know some one who is suffering from dental anxiety, you may feel overwhelmed or unsure of how you can help. However, there are a few tips and coping methods that may help him or her to feel more comfortable and at ease the next time they are scheduling a dentist appointment.
Allow Your Loved One to Discuss Their Fear
If you want to help your loved one in a significant way when it comes to facing their anxieties head-on, it is important to allow them the opportunity to speak about their fears of visiting the dentist. Allowing your loved one the ability to speak openly and honestly about their dental anxiety without judging or shaming them is a way to build trust between you and your loved one while strengthening an already existing bond you may have with one another.
Encourage your loved one to open up and share more without feeling embarrassed or ostracized. Try to offer your loved one support by empathizing with their fears and the struggles they are working towards overcoming when it comes to visiting the dentist regularly.
If possible, ask your loved one about the root cause, trigger, or trauma that may have led to their current fears of visiting the dentist. Is it potential pain, a bad experience, or even a bad dentist in the past that is limiting your loved one from keeping up with their oral health? Determining the root cause of anxiety can help to truly face and overcome the issue head-on.
Explain That Your Loved One is Not Alone
One reason your loved one may avoid going to the dentist or speaking about dental appointments is that they feel embarrassed and alone in their situation. However, this is extremely far from the truth, as dental anxiety is common and affects millions of both children and adults alike each year. If your loved one is feeling embarrassed, it is important to let them know that they are not alone in their situation and with their anxiety.
Research Local Dentists
If you want to lend a helping hand to your loved one who has a fear of visiting the dentist, begin by researching local dentists near you. Research dentists who not only specialize in helping to calm patients, but have a complete and thorough understanding of dental anxiety and how impactful it can be on another individual. Call local dentists who are well-versed in dental anxiety to learn more about the services and amenities they provide for patients who have difficulties visiting the dentist on a regular basis.
Visit the Dentist With Your Loved One
Offering moral and emotional support to your loved one by attending their appointment with them can help put their own mind at ease while ensuring they receive the care they need. Once you arrive at your loved one’s dentist appointment, ask about speaking with the dentist or if your loved one needs anything else to help with increasing their level of comfort. It may also be possible to speak to your loved one’s dentist together as a group prior to a cleaning or another dental service that needs to be performed. If your loved one is able to feel comfortable and at ease with their dentist, they are much more likely to have a satisfying and overall positive experience.
Understanding the significance of dental anxiety is imperative if you have a loved one who is suffering from the debilitating condition themselves. The more you understand dental anxiety, its root causes, and triggers that contribute to you, it is much easier to lend a helping hand to any loved one in your life who is in need of support and guidance as they work through their dental anxiety.