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Overcoming dental phobia

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Firstly, know that dentists nowadays are much more caring and compassionate than our predecessors and that the old school pointy fingered authority figure has been replaced by a more favourable and personable dentist than before. Dentists are trained to respond with sensitivity, empathy and patience, particularly to those with dental phobia. Gone are the days of lecturing and scorn. There are also NHS services and help-lines available for those with dental phobia.

Below are some simple steps to help overcome your dental phobia:

1) Communicate your fears. Talk to a dentist about your fears and concerns openly and honestly.

2) Find out about procedures. Knowledge is power – there is no better way to alleviate fears than to learn about them and gain control over them. Ask a dentist to discuss procedures with you step-by-step.

3) Be open and honest. If you feel embarrassed and ashamed about your teeth then say so. The more open you can be the closer you are to eradicating your fears.

4) Many dentists now use relaxation and distraction techniques such as playing films and aromatherapy oils to lessen anxiety and stress.

5) Sedation. Some dentists will be able to sedate you and put you in a relaxed and dreamy state of mind during your procedure. Products such as NuCalm are now used widely in dental practices.

6) Take things one step at a time. Start by having a check-up with no treatment at first. Also, find out about a dental practice near to you which specialises in the treatment of nervous patients.

7) Take a friend or family member with you for support.

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