There are few things scarier than lying helplessly on a couch and a stranger putting their fingers into your mouth. This fear does not merely stem from watching horror movies.

In the early days of dentistry in the U.S., the town barber was also the dentist.

In those days, dental treatment was basic and the tools were simple.

A shot of liquor was used as the anesthetic and a bunch of crude tools, known as tooth keys, were used as dental instruments.

High-speed dental hand pieces, dental lasers, digital imaging, X-rays, and other high-tech dental materials that you take for granted today are not even 60 years old.

No longer fear the dentist

Why do you fear your dentist?

Though modern dentistry has come a long way from the days when barbers plucked teeth, dental anxiety has not completely vanished.

There are three main reasons you still fear your dentist:

You do not Know what to Expect!

At the root of your anxiety is the fear of the unknown.

If you have not visited a dentist for years, it is natural to be nervous about the meet.

Fortunately, you can overcome this fear easily.

How to overcome the fear of the unknown?

Find a dentist whom you can trust.

When an experienced dentist receives a patient, he or she does not jump straight into dental procedures.

Instead, he or she sits with the patient and helps them overcome their fears through open communication.

The patient comes to trust the dentist and their fear disappears when they see the dentist is sensitive to their needs.

Dental Equipment Gives You Nightmares:

For many individuals, the scariest part of a visit to the dentist is the fear of dental equipment.

They feel terrible when they imagine those sharp, alien-looking metal tools stuck into their mouth. The fear is particularly strong in children.

How to overcome the fear of dental equipment?

A dentist can help patients overcome the fear of dental equipment by letting them hold the tools first.

This simple exercise eliminates much of their anxiety and the rest can be handled by the dentist through conversation.

You are scared of things that have little to do with dentistry.

Some people are claustrophobic. They cannot withstand a dentist operating on them in a closed room and they confuse their fear of closed spaces with the fear of dentists.

How to recognize your hidden fears and overcome them?

Speak to your dentist. An understanding dentist will get to know you first, recognize your fears, and then avoid triggers during the therapy.

What can you do if your child is afraid of the dentist?

Dealing with a child who does not want to visit the dentist is a different matter than conquering your own fears.

Here are six tips on how to take the fear out of your child’s mind:

1. Children pick on their parents’ anxieties. Do not appear afraid.

2. Schedule the first appointment with the dentist immediately after the arrival of the first tooth.

3. Try to book an appointment in morning because children tend to be more relaxed then.

4. Try to combine your child’s dental visit with an outing.

5. Read a dental book to your children. It will help them grow familiar with their new environment in a dental office.

6. Explain the importance of good dental and gum care to your children.

Usually the fear of the dentist stems from a lack of knowledge of what is going to happen, fear of dental equipment, and hidden fears that have nothing to do with dentistry.

An experienced and friendly dentist can help you overcome these fears.

Dr. Safarian is a highly experienced and friendly dentist in San Diego. He can help you and your children overcome your fear of dental treatment. To book an appointment with him, call us at (858) 755-8993 for our San Diego office or (619) 656-6785 for our Chula Vista office.