How Can I Learn to Cope with Going to the Dentist?
31st August 2016

How can I learn to cope with going to the dentist? I'm due to have my wisdom teeth out in 10 days and no-one will explain what will happen when I'm asleep. I have a great dentist and he has managed to get me from standing in the doorway to actually being examined in the dentist chair. After the first time in the chair and when I was tilted back, the appointment ended badly and I ended up running out in tears as I felt so panicked due to forcing myself to face my fears head on. I feel scared all the time and can't sleep for worrying about my teeth and don't want to eat at all in case I need more work done. Is there anything I can do at all to help myself? It's all I think about and it's taking over my whole life. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

A. Hello. It sounds as if these persistent unpleasant thoughts are the problem that are causing you the great anxiety.  So you made two good steps, you made the appointment, then your anxiety got the better of you and you got out of the chair.  So first, not eating for fear of making your teeth worse is not a rational thought and is 100 % unlikely to be reality. So if you can, try to stop that intrusive thought and get back to eating normally. Just stay within the next step. You are booked to have your wisdom teeth out. Have you actually asked someone what will happen, or did your anxiety overwhelm you before you could do that? You will be asleep (or deeply sedated). The extractions will be done and will be over when you come round. It's very hard to describe what its like to have a tooth out and many people want to be ' knocked out ' so that they don't need to be aware of what is happening. I think you might not want to know in precise detail the procedures for having any other surgical operation and it's enough to know what the procedure will entail without going into detail. There is no doubt that you will become more anxious as the date gets nearer, but try not to let those feelings overwhelm you. Could you ask your doctor to give you a mild sedative before the procedure, perhaps for a couple of days before? I hope this helps a bit, Jenny. 

Dental Phobia

Dr Jennifer Pinder

Bupa Dental Centre 77 Cornhill, London, EC3V 3QQ

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