According to your answers, the prospect of visiting the dentist strikes a healthy level of fear in you, which likely keeps you from seeking the treatment you need to to take care of your teeth —and your overall health. If you experience anxiety when it comes to dental treatment, don’t despair: this is a perfectly normal and legitimate feeling that can be mitigated by a fear-free dental professional who offers compassionate care.
Here are just a few qualities to look for in a good fear-free dentist, based on my book Fear-Free Dental Care: Finding a Dentist You Can Love:
- Positive language
A fear-free dentist always uses language that comes across as positive and constructive, rather than language that causes fear and anxiety. This includes body language!
- A gentle touch
What sets fear-free dentistry apart from traditional dentistry is not only a commitment to treating your mouth and teeth with extra care, but also making a special effort to comfort you in other ways. Making sure you feel heard, giving you a signal so you can stop the dentist if you need to, or providing a warm blanket are just a few ways we help you feel relaxed and cared for.
- No shame
Fear-free dentists never use shaming tactics to encourage good dental habits. For instance, they might say, “You have five cavities.” A fear-free dentist would never say, “I told you that if you didn’t start flossing you’d end up with cavities.”
One way to manage dental fear is through repeating positive affirmations to redirect your thoughts away from your anxiety and fear toward something more positive. Try these three ways to make these positive affirmations even more powerful:
- Stay in the present
If you phrase your affirmations in the future, you’ll always be waiting for the results. Say “I am enjoying a pain-free experience with my dentist,” rather than “I will enjoy a pain-free experience with my dentist.”
- Stay positive
Affirm what you want, not what you don’t want. Say “I feel safe, comfortable, and relaxed when I’m at the dentist,” not “I won’t be afraid when I’m at the dentist.”
- Stay specific
Affirmations are most effective when they’re specific and meaningful to you. For instance, “I feel my mind and body relax the moment I kick off my shoes and settle into my dentist’s blue chair” is better than “I feel relaxed at the dentist.”
Don’t let dental fear hold you back another day! Contact Dr. Scott Shamblott at Shamblott Family Dentistry to discuss your fear-free, pain-free treatment options or to schedule an appointment.
Expect to hear from Dr. Shamblott via email soon as a follow-up to your experience, or get in touch with him directly here. Thank you for participating in this quiz!