How to Overcome Your Fear of the Unknown at Dental Visits

How to Overcome Your Fear of the Unknown at Dental Visits

November 1, 2022

Dental fear and anxiety are prevalent issues plaguing people, children, and adults alike. It can be uncomfortable to have someone’s hands in your mouth. It even gets worse when you see the handheld tools; hearing them suctioning and drilling can be scary.

But there are times when people fear our Los Gatos dentist without even seeing or hearing the dental tools. Some patients may fear the unknown, and their minds run wild while sitting in the dentist’s chair waiting for treatment.

Understanding a thing or two about the fear of the unknown can help you be calm and make your dental experience pleasant. Without further ado, let’s see what the fear of the unknown is all about.

What Is the Fear of the Unknown?

If there is anything we can all be sure of, life is uncertain. How you deal with this fact will determine where you will be in the spectrum of life. Some thrive in uncertainty, while others become paralyzed.

Some of the fears are learned. For instance, you could be afraid of snakes or even spiders based on what you have learned. However, not all fears are anchored on survival. Some fears are based on uncertainty. Or better yet, what you don’t know.

In fact, fear of the unknown is at the heart of many types of phobias. As it is referred to in the medical field, xenophobia is the fear of anything or anyone unfamiliar.

The fear of the unknown (xenophobia) is based on one having a limited amount of information concerning a particular subject. Most people might experience xenophobia at a certain level. For instance, you might experience xenophobia when you think the stocks might plummet or stand onstage, fearing how the crowd will respond.

However, there are some people with a fear of the unknown who might take it up a notch. You may develop an intolerance of uncertainty (the circumstances may feel unbearable to you). When this happens, you might experience the following symptoms:

  • Quick, shallow breathing
  • Fast heart rate
  • Feelings of weakness
  • Tense muscles
  • Blood sugar levels spike

You may have cultivated the habit of imagining the worst-case scenarios when you have xenophobia. In other words, you are thinking in a way that creates a false or inaccurate view of reality.

How Can Fear of the Unknown Affect Dental Visits?

Imagine sitting in the dentist’s chair waiting for treatment. Does the thought of what is going to happen next paralyze you? If it does, then xenophobia might have skewed your view of reality. When this happens, you might have a challenge receiving dental care.

When you are extremely anxious, it could upset the attendants trying to care for you. Your stress levels increase the stress levels of the attendants throughout your appointment. It might even be difficult for the staff to calm down to attend to the next patients fully.

What’s more, you might make it challenging for our dentist to perform a simple examination or task such as cleaning your teeth. You might leave the dental office without receiving the care you need.

Tips to Overcome the Fear of the Unknown

Fear is usually emotionally paralyzing. You can miss out on plenty of good stuff because of fear. Therefore, some of the ways that you can overcome the fear of the unknown are:

  • Admit That It’s a Problem

Excuses will constantly shift the blame or responsibility to someone or something else. But the process begins by admitting that xenophobia is an issue that needs to be resolved. Try to locate the root cause of your fear.

  • Question Your Assumptions

Take your time to examine your beliefs whenever you experience the fear of the unknown. Are your beliefs logical? Have you adopted cognitive distortions that are hindering you now?

  • Increase Your Knowledge

Your fear of the unknown becomes magnified when you have little to no information concerning the subject. Understand how a dental practice works, what tools are used, and how they work; you might find relief knowing that nothing will harm you.

  • Ask Questions

Don’t be shy; ask our dentist all the questions that come to mind concerning the procedure. More questions will mean more answers, which will quell your fears.

  • Let Our Dentist Know

Our dentist might know what’s going on with you. So, don’t keep your fears bottled up. Only when our dentist knows can we help you enjoy your dental appointment.

Dental anxiety affects many people. Don’t let xenophobia stand in the way of you receiving general dentistry in Los Gatos, CA. Contact us at Mountain Bay Dental Implants and Orthodontics to schedule an appointment; we would love to help.

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