Most people are nervous when it comes to visiting their dentist, maybe it's the sound of the drill or it's just something that everyone is fearful of. Then there are those patients that are absolutely petrified and would rather suffer with agonizing pain than head to their nearby surgery.
For these people finding a dentist is a daunting task, you want a specialist who is understanding to your fear and will handle your situation with "kit gloves" while providing you with the care that you need.
The best place to start your search is by speaking to family and friends. Many of your friends and family members will have their own surgery that they attend and they will be able to advise you on how their specialist treats them, whether they experience pain and if they are comfortable for the duration of their consultation.
If you do not have any luck with your close family and friends, then it's time to start looking online. A good place to start is on forums. Often on the forums you will find other patients who are nervous about their surgery visit and write about their experiences. If they are in your local area, they can give you a name of a dentist that they found was understanding to their fear and helped reduce any stress they went through.
Being fearful is not just a fear, it is accompanied by severe stress and in some cases, patients can get physically ill from the overwhelming dread they experience before they even step through the surgery door. This is why it's so important to ensure that when you choose a surgery, you are choosing the best one to keep you calm, understand your fear and help you get the treatment you need in the gentlest way.
Once you find a few surgeries in your local area or that have been recommended to you, it's a good idea to go through their website, see what services they provide and read up on each of their dentist's credentials and experience.
Stay away from websites which promote holistic approaches and concentrate more on making money than taking care of their patients. You want a surgery that offers you a host of services, enabling you to find one surgery you are comfortable with and then use them time and time again.
In many cases, you may be referred by your GP, which is very common. Ensure your GP is aware of your fear and that they choose the best surgery to manage that fear.
Write down a shortlist of surgeries that you feel most comfortable with, or as comfortable as you can be. Now is the time to phone each one, explain your situation and see how they manage your requests.
Most of these dental surgeries are used to fearful patients, so what you're looking for when calling is an understanding receptionist who answers your questions with ease. They may recommend an initial consultation where you can come in and speak to the specialist without them touching your mouth, this gives you a chance to see the surgery, meet the staff and see how you feel.
When you meet the dentist for your initial "non-touch" appointment, you can advise him or her how you feel, why you are so nervous and see how they react and treat the situation. If you immediately feel comfortable and at ease and everyone in the surgery is going out of their way to make you comfortable, then you may have just found the perfect surgery for you.