Posted by Carole
Can you feel your jaws tightening when you hear the word “dentist”? Like most people the thought of visiting your dentist is making you nervous to a point you only go when it’s absolutely necessary – read when it bloody hurts and you have no choice but to go!
That’s what happened to me recently as I kept saying to myself that strange feeling I had in my tooth was nothing more that gum sensitivity and would go away on its own. Of course it didn’t and I ended up needing a root canal treatment, which got me to endure three long sessions with my dentist to date and dread the next two appointments that the helpful assistant has scheduled in for me.
The funny thing is that I had never been that afraid of the dentist and had always been quite good at getting regular check-ups and – I admit it – I didn’t understand people who were too scared to even book an appointment but I now realize it is because I’d never had any invasive work done to my teeth and I now fully sympathize with those terrified by the idea of setting a foot in a dental surgery.
And even though my dentist is very competent and doing her best to treat my tooth as painlessly as possible, I shiver every time I sit on the dental chair and could even cry a little if I wasn’t afraid to be judged… so today I wanted to go through a few tips that I tried to ease my fear of the dentist and the pain associated with the treatment, that might be useful for you too!
1. Take a painkiller just before your dentist appointment as it will diminish the pain you will feel during and right after the treatment HOWEVER do not take aspirin or any medicines containing aspirin as it will prevent clotting in case of bleeding. It might seem like an obvious thing to do but I never thought about it until one day, I saw my dad swallow paracetamol tablets prior to his dentist appointment and asked him if he was in pain. He matter-of-factly answered to me that he wasn’t yet but that he would certainly be later on so this was prevention. I thought it was smart and now never fail to take a painkiller before a dental appointment.
2. If your dentist doesn’t offer, don’t be afraid to ask for numbing gel or even bring your own and apply it, with clean fingers, to your gums before the treatment starts. Numbing gel can be bought in any pharmacy where it’s generally sold to appease gum irritations or small wounds in the mouth. My dentist seems to think I don’t need numbing before she injects my gum with anaesthetic, I truly disagree and always bring numbing gel with me.
3. Natural plant-based relaxing remedies such as infusions, drops or pastilles can help you relax your mind and body and endure your dental treatment with more serenity. The more relaxed you are, the less traumatizing the experience will be, plus relaxed jaws will help prevent muscle tensions and aches post-treatment. Rescue Remedy from Bach Flower is a great option as it offers a wide range of products including spray, drops, pastilles that are relatively efficient and easy to carry and ingest, wherever you are.
4. Listen to music before your appointment, especially in the waiting room. Be discreet and make sure to keep the volume down not to disturb other patients but this will help you to keep your mind focused on something else than dental surgery noises (thinking about that horrible drilling sound…). You can also ask your dentist if you can keep one earphone in during the treatment so you can still hear his/her instructions while being distracted and relaxed by your favourite music. I’ve only tried music so far but I’ve heard of many people listening to funny podcasts or audio books and it seems to work wonder!
5. Close your eyes or wear dark sunglasses during your treatment so you won’t have to see everything that is going on. I personally like to close my eyes as I know that I’m more likely to anticipate the pain of a needle when I see one. Sometimes ignorance is bliss! On the other hand, some people find re-assuring to see and be aware of everything that is happening and if it’s your case, you should ask your dentist to tell you what he/she is doing step-by-step.
6. Before the treatment starts, it’s important to ask your dentist to explain to you what he/she is going to do and roughly how long it will take. You don’t need to know about the gritty – and gory – details but understanding why you’re going through that ordeal will help you to consider the benefits and cope with the stress and pain better.
One last yet very obvious tip is to get checked-up regularly but also to consult your dentist as soon as you feel pain in your teeth/gums or even some kind of sensitivity. The earlier you go, the less invasive the treatment will be. A filling is much quicker and painless than a root canal or, worse, a tooth extraction and I wish I had addressed the issue I had with my tooth a lot earlier than I did as my problem would have been resolved in one appointment by a simple filling.
I hope these few tips will help a little if you’re planning a visit to the dentist soon, there is no miracle solution but every little help is welcome when it comes to anything dentist related. Stay strong!
Thank you for reading! Like and leave a comment below if you enjoyed this article, although I know no one enjoys reading about drilling and dentist pain 😉