Millions of Americans are terrified of going to the dentist, and most will go out of their way to put off appointments for as long as possible. However, this can have terrible effects on your teeth, and if you put off dentist appointments for too long, you could end up needing more work done than you would have otherwise. Because of this, it’s worth learning how to stop being scared of the dentist so that you can stop putting off appointments.
To help put dentist appointments in perspective, let’s take a look at eight appointments that are much worse. This way, you may feel a bit more relieved that you’re only going to the dentist instead of one of these other appointments.
Both men and women across the United States regularly book professional waxing sessions to help remove unwanted hair from sensitive areas. Although removing hair with wax can provide a smoother finish that lasts much longer, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t incredibly painful, especially in the bikini area.
Almost everything below the belt, aside from your legs, is incredibly painful, and the sting can linger even after the strip is ripped off. Compared to regular cleanings and check-ups at the dentist, waxing can be much more terrifying. However, despite this, millions of people book waxing appointments regularly and keep coming back for more.
If the thought of heading to the dentist frightens you, just be thankful that they’re only working on your mouth, and not ripping hair out of very sensitive areas.
2. Coronavirus Testing
Millions of people have had Coronavirus testing since the pandemic began over a year ago, and a lot of them have reported the experience as being exceptionally painful. Not only do you have to grapple with the fear of potentially being infected, but the testing process itself is often described as brain scraping.
The nasopharyngeal swab is considered one of the most accurate forms of testing and it goes much deeper than a typical nasal swab. Numerous test takers report experiencing intense migraines afterward that even painkillers won’t relieve.
The reason for some of this pain is the differences in the structure of some people’s nasal passages. Some may be more narrow than others, or you may have a deviated septum that makes the experience more painful.
During the test itself, a six-inch swab is inserted into the nostril until it reaches the nasopharynx, the area where the passages and the throat connect. It is then swirled gently for a few seconds to collect the necessary amount of secretions.
Because the area that the swab needs to make contact with is extremely reactive to touch, and not used to it, people can experience a range of reactions, and often pain.
When considering how to stop being scared of the dentist, just be glad that the worst they might do is a root canal with an anesthetic and not a deep nasal swab where you have to feel every sensation.
That being said, coronavirus testing should never be avoided if required or necessary. Just like the dentist, this form of testing is highly important today, and if you feel that you exhibit any symptoms, you should book testing with your doctor or at a medical wellness clinic as soon as possible. Some places don’t perform nasopharyngeal swabs, and instead, only require you to swab the inside of your nostril. This type of testing may be easier for people with smaller passages or those who want to stay away from the deeper swabs.
3. Chiropractic Adjustment
When considering how to stop being scared of the dentist, you can instead think about how much easier it is than other types of appointments. Another that can be worse includes chiropractic adjustment.
Although there is little to no pain involved in these procedures, sometimes the cracking of bones can be enough to freak people out. The process itself involved applying pressure to the spinal column to promote realignment. While this may not hurt, it can put you on edge.
There are also some risks involved, such as the chance of a herniated disk, nerve compression, and rarely the chance of stroke during a neck adjustment. Because of these risks, patients looking to undergo adjustments should always talk to their doctor if they have known osteoporosis, numbness, tingling, cancer in the spinal column, increased stroke risk, spine instability, or have any need for bone repair.
Dental work doesn’t have a lot of these risks, and in most cases, you’ll always have an anesthetic to ensure that you don’t feel any pain. So, when thinking about how to stop being scared of the dentist, just remember that your dental visit won’t involve hearing your own bones cracking.
4. Prostate Exams and Pap Smears
When considering how to stop being scared of the dentist, just be thankful that they’re only sticking to checking out your teeth. Prostate exams and pap smears are two shudder-inducing procedures depending on your sex, and they are something that no one looks forward to.
While they are necessary parts of family wellness and staying healthy and can help detect cancers in the earliest stages so that they can be fully treated, the process is not a fun one. If rubber gloves, lubricant, and speculums make you shudder, maybe you’ll be more thankful that you’re only going to a dental appointment.
5. Arterial Blood Gas
This is blood drawing appointment that can quickly make you long for a dental appointment. When considering how to stop being scared of the dentist, just be thankful they aren’t doing this procedure.
Often described as the most painful laboratory procedure, an arterial blood gas involves drawing blood from the main artery in the wrist, and it’s done to test the acidity and oxygen levels of the blood. An ABG sample can be extremely painful, as arteries are much deeper than surface veins, and the drawing can also leave you feeling lightheaded, dizzy, and nauseous.
Although this test is often necessary, it is something that no one looks forward to, and it can make a dental check-up seem almost fun in comparison.
6. Botox Appointments
Whether you’re getting botox to help smooth the appearance of wrinkles or you’re getting it as a pain treatment, the needles involved can make some people shudder, especially when they’re going in your face. Coupled with this, botox procedures can have some rare side effects that are always a risk when you get these injections.
Side effects like flu-like symptoms, swelling, bruising, headache, nausea, constipation, dry mouth, trouble swallowing, and sagging eyelids are all possible with botox, albeit they are relatively rare. It also depends on where you get your botox injections and if the provider is certified. Some places will offer botox without having the proper ability to do so. This can not only lead to botched injections, but places like this could also use unsafe forms of botox.
Although millions of people get botox every year, it is still sometimes a bit scarier than a dental appointment.
Is anyone ever excited about having a doctor probe their intestines through a camera inserted into their rectum? Probably not. Although colonoscopies are one of the best ways to screen for colon cancer and causes of gastrointestinal issues, they are never a fun event. Not only is the process uncomfortable, but the scope can also become looped during the procedure, which is really as painful as it sounds.
If that wasn’t enough, the process of preparing for your appointment isn’t any fun either. Before a colonoscopy, patients need to drink a colon cleansing laxative that helps clean out their lower intestine so that the probe can do its job. Essentially, you’ll be in for a night camped out in the bathroom, which is thankfully something that no dental visit will ever require.
So, while dental appointments may not be something you’re looking forward to, when trying to think of how to stop being scared of the dentist, you can be glad that it won’t involve laxatives.
8. Child Birth
Okay, while this isn’t necessarily an appointment unless you’re being induced or having a c-section that is pre-scheduled, it warrants mentioning on this list both for women and men. The birth of a child, while a monumental event, is also a painful, bloody, and terrifying time where emotions and tensions can run high. After giving birth, even the most complex root canals will seem like a breeze.
Although the mother will undoubtedly experience the most pain during this appointment, fathers can also be in for a tumultuous time. Not only do you have to see the mother of your child in extreme pain, but the process is also risky, complicated, and it does have the chance to be fatal. With all of these thoughts running around in your head, coupled with your partner squeezing your hand to the point of breaking it, you’ll be wishing for a run-of-the-mill dentist appointment! When it comes to birth, no amount of counseling, preparation, or strength training will prepare you for when it actually happens.
Additionally, the general surgery medical billing process associated with births can be both difficult to decipher and expensive — especially without insurance. Why is there a $30 fee for holding your baby after delivery? Who knows! While dental procedures can get expensive, they’re nowhere near as costly as giving birth. This makes childbirth both physically and financially painful for everyone involved.
How to Stop Being Scared of the Dentist
So, now that you know eight appointments and procedures that are much worse than a simple dentist visit — and some even worse than a root canal — you can feel at least slightly better about your next dental check-up. While no dentist visit is ever fun, it’s important to put it into perspective so that you can lessen the feeling of fear associated with it.
If you still feel apprehensive, that’s okay. Talk to your dentist and communicate how you are feeling. Most times when a dentist knows that you are feeling scared, they will go out of their way to help make you as comfortable as possible. It also may be a good idea to work with a family dentist that has experience working with young children. While it may sound silly, dentists with pediatric training will know the best ways to distract you so that you can feel more relaxed. After all, they have the huge task of trying to make dental appointments comfortable for kids!
When choosing a dentist, make sure to thoroughly read reviews to get a good idea of how personable they are and if other patients were made to feel at ease. If you know that the dentist you’ll be going to is trusted by many other people, you’ll feel more confident going to them.
To make the experience more fun, you can even consider setting up something to do afterward to help give you something to look forward to. For instance, you can set up a coffee date with a friend, book reservations at your favorite restaurant, or plan to see a movie that you’ve been looking forward to. By treating yourself after the appointment, you can help your brain start to associate your dental appointments with something more positive, making it far less scary.
A Necessary Appointment
Although it’s normal to feel apprehensive before a dentist visit, it’s important that you take steps to manage your fears so that you can get the treatments that you need. Dental care is important not just for your mouth, but for your whole body, and it isn’t something you should ever put off.
With all of that being said, while the eight procedures on this list may be objectively worse than a dentist visit, they are also something that you should never forgo if needed. Things like Covoravirus testing, colonoscopies, prostate exams, and pap smears are all essential for helping to catch potentially deadly conditions and if they are recommended by your doctor, you should never turn them down.