How to calm your nerves before visiting the dentist

It is very common to be nervous about going to the dentist. It can be because of a bad experience you had younger, of the sound of the tools, the smells of the products, the fear of needles sometimes needed for the anaesthesia, etc.

There are a few ways you can relax before going to the dentist and maybe even overcome your fear!



Choose your dentist carefully.


Don’t just go to the nearest or cheapest dentist if you are scared. Take time checking all the reviews, asking your friends and relatives. Try to find someone who is as terrified of the dentist as you are so he could tell you which practitioner would make you feel the most comfortable.



Start with a simple check-up


If you haven’t been in the dentist in years or if you are traumatised by a previous experience: start gradually. Meet first your dentist for a check up and if you feel well enough, then come back for a polish. Only then you can consider more important treatments such as fillings, or even root canals.



Book an appointment at the right time


If you are already anxious about the dentist, don’t go on a day you would already be stressed. Typically, avoid an appointment at lunchtime in between two meetings. Try to find a slot on a day off, or go early in the morning before work so you are not too stressed yet.



Little girl in a dentish chair, holding a toothbrush and smiling to the dentist

Source: Frazer dental



Try not to go alone


If you can, bring a friend or a relative that you trust with you. Choose someone that you know is good at relaxing you, comforting you and change your mind. Focusing on a conversation, having someone’s hand to hold can be reassuring and can help you avoid paying too much attention to what the dentist is doing.



Otherwise, bring music and earphones


One of the most stressing aspects about dentists is the noise of their tools, especially the drill. If many practices do have music in their waiting room, it can be useful to come with earphones to make sure you don’t hear anything during the treatment.



Tell the dentist about your fears


You should not be ashamed to tell the dentist, the hygienist or anybody that you are scared. It would help them adapt and be gentler towards you. Try also to agree on a sign with your dentist before any treatment, so you can let him know whenever you don’t feel well and need him to stop.



Don’t forget also that dentist practices and treatments have nothing to do with how it was a few years ago. If you got traumatised during your childhood, you would probably have a good surprise if you go back to the dentist now. Procedures are much safer and tools are more elaborated now. Doctors also have anaesthetic gel to numb your gum before using the real anaesthetic needle.



If you really are too terrified and are unable to handle the dentist, you can be referred to an NHS sedation clinic that uses inhalation or intravenous sedation to help you relax and calm down.



Julia from Findoc