Dental fear or anxiety refers to the condition of being afraid of visiting the dentist. Dental anxiety is quite common, but it doesn't mean that you can't visit the dentist.
Speak up about your fears
It's normal to have some anxiety when you go into a dentist's office for treatment. However, if you are so fearful that you cannot get the dental care that you need, it's important to speak up about it to your dentist and work together to come up with a solution. Letting your dentist know how you feel will allow them to pinpoint the source of your fear and work with you to alleviate it.
Take a trusted person with you
Often, patients who experience dental fear have a fear of embarrassment as well. They may feel that others will judge them for feeling scared when they sit in the dentist's chair. If you feel this way, ask a friend to accompany you to your next appointment. Having someone you trust by your side can help calm you down and make the appointment more manageable. Just make sure that whoever you bring is someone you can trust not to talk during your procedure or to distract you from the procedure in any way.
Bring your comfort item or some distractions with you to the dental office
During your appointment, you can bring headphones and your favorite music to listen to as you relax in the chair. Many people also bring a book to read, a tablet to watch their favorite shows on or even some knitting or embroidery to work on while they wait for their appointment to end. The dentist office can be an intimidating place for some people, but bringing a distraction can help ease your anxiety.
Consider sedation dentistry
If anxiety is holding you back from addressing your oral health needs, then talk to your dentist. There are a wide variety of options that can help you relax while at the dentist's office. This includes getting dental sedation like oral sedation, nitrous oxide, or IV sedation. Your dentist may also be able to administer a dose of local anesthesia prior to treatment so that you don't feel any pain or discomfort during your appointment. Or they may offer other forms of dental sedation as an option for anxiety relief.
Talk to your dentist at your next appointment and let them know what your concerns are, and then work with them to find a solution.