For many people a trip to the dentist is like something out of a horror movie. You lie in a stark white environment, while a masked man with sharp instruments stands over you, and then you hear the drill… well, you get the picture.

But you needn’t be afraid of the dentist forever. For the sake of your oral wellbeing, it’s time to overcome your fear of the dentist. We’re here to tell you that most often a person’s fear of the dentist is worse than any actual pain that they inflict.
Follow these useful tips and soon you’ll be feeling better about your next trip to the dentist.

1. Choose a good dentist. You’ll feel much more secure if you know the dental clinic is a good one and not some decidedly dodgy part-time operation that’ll leave you worse than when you came in. Because finding a good dentist can be a little like pulling teeth, we’ve already got you covered – see How To Choose A Dentist.

2. Because a fear of the dentist is a common phobia, you should seek out other people who don’t like visiting the dentist and find out if they can give you any recommendations. Perhaps their last visit to the dentist or oral hygienist wasn’t as scary as it usually is?

3. Positive word of mouth (pardon the pun) could make you feel more confident. Browse the Yellow Pages online and see if anyone has left any positive ratings and reviews for Auckland dentists and dental clinics in your area.

4. Sedation. The best dentists will have a number of sedation options at their disposal that can relax you. Nitrous oxide (or laughing gas) is a good option if you’re feeling nervous and the dentist has a lot of work to do, and novocaine will numb your mouth so you won’t feel anything.

5. You don’t need to face your fear alone – bring a friend or partner with you. If you’re really scared have them hold your hand while you’re in the dentist’s chair.

6. If you must go alone, remember to take some deep breaths and bring a stress ball. Squeezing something soft may help with the anxiety and breathing deeply often relaxes people.

7. Close your eyes and imagine you’re somewhere else, like on a beach or at the pub with your mates. The dentist will be done in no time.

8. If all else fails and you still have an extreme fear of the dentist, it would be wise to consult a psychiatrist or counsellor.

To not confront a fear of the dentist could lead to oral health problems later on, so don’t delay. There’s no better time than right now to get back in the dentist’s chair. Carpe diem!

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