Too nervous for the dentist part 2

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Too nervous for the dentist part 2

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Understanding fear:

Fear is a natural response to situations that you find threatening (too nervous for the dentist), after the event you go into a reflective space where you replay the scenario and edit the images, devise commentary on what you should’ve, could’ve done, judge yourself, you will experience a plethora of emotions and associated feelings/ sensations. After a while you will decide on what future action you will take. Some plans will be helpful, and others not so helpful, such as devising ways in which you will avoid the repeating the painful experience (going to the dentist).

The negative strategies may encourage you in developing a ‘maintenance cycle’, which will keep you trapped not and not resolve the problem of being too nervous for the dentist.

Maintenance cycle:  

Memory/images

Dentist will judge me

I’m pathetic

                                             Behaviour:                                                                        Emotions:

  Avoid going to dentist                                                              Fear, worry

Physical sensations:

Sweating, feel cold


 

Given your past experience it is perfectly understandable that you would not repeat the painful experience. However the long – term impact is that your dental health may deteriorate and the thought of having more complex treatment make you even more nervous to go to the dentist.

How can you manage this situation?

  1. Awareness: spend some time to explore your current situation. Write down or voice record the situation that you’re currently in, the history of it and why you made the decisions you have? Your thoughts and feelings.
  2. What do you know that you need to do? What are the obstacles preventing you from following through?
  3. Make a to do list and prioritise them, starting with the least threatening thing. For example pencil in a date to talk with the dental receptionist.
  4. Take action: decide on the date and time you will talk to friend/family, make a call.

 planning

Sometimes even the thought of doing these things can become overwhelming, and you may find you experience heightened anxiety symptoms just at the thought of making a call, let alone attending a dental appointment.

  1. Here are a few strategies that you can do to help cope; take a deep breathe, exercise, talk to someone.
  2. Identify one thing that you feel you can do and increase your activity by one thing at a time.
  3. Discover a relaxation technique that works for you.
  4. Stay in the moment, look around you and remember where you are: what can you see (identify five things of each category)? What can you smell? What can you hear? What can you feel? What can you hear?
  5. Identify your thoughts and feelings, your anxiety symptoms, acknowledge your feeling scared /worrying and notice these are just your thoughts which are taking you away from your current reality and creating the way you are feeling now. Spend some time just observing the way you are thinking and feeling with detachment, no judgement. This is what the mind does it produces thoughts and you then respond emotionally as if the threat is here now. Once your emotion has decreased, you can choose to think of something else, or do something else.
  6. Do not fight the experience, give yourself a break and know that you are beginning a new journey to deal with your fear, which is an emotion that, like a wave comes and goes.
  7. Keep a journal of your journey, notice the negative things you say to yourself, what would you say to a relative or friend who said these things about themselves?

 

I currently work with a dental practice (http://www.onedentalclinic.co.uk/) that makes nervous patients a priority.

For further information:

Complete the registration form on the right of the screen, or, call 0789 1890 222 to book your free consultation.

Comments

  1. Great article. Much obliged. Abrams

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Omisona Fasina
Cognitive Behavioural Therapist

55 Newhall Street,
Birmingham,
West Midlands,
B3 3RB

Tel: 07891 890 222
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