Dentophobia or dental fear is an anxiety disorder that is not common to everyone. People who have it may have difficulty overcoming it. It may involve the fear of facing a dentist, fear of undergoing a dental procedure, or even the idea of visiting a dental clinic.
This is why it is important to understand dentophobia, its causes, and the treatment needed before it becomes worse and untreatable.
Dentophobia comes in different forms. Some of these may not be obvious, and others are unexpected. Below are the types or forms of dental fears:
- Fear of dentist.
- The fear of a dentist may be rooted in a negative experience with a dental practitioner. It could be the pain or the discomfort that one felt during the dental procedure.
- Fear of needle.
- The fear of needles is common in children. Some may have overcome it as they reached adulthood, but a few grew with it.
- Hence, the refusal to get an injection may become unbearable.
- Gag or vomiting reflex.
- During a dental procedure, the dentist may use tools that would trigger vomiting. The struggle it may create may make you fear any dental examination.
- Fear of dental drill.
- A dental drill is a small but powerful instrument dentists use to help in shaping teeth, removing the decay, and other cosmetic dentistry procedures. Its sound can be terrifying for some, becoming the reason to fear going to the dentist.
What Causes Dental Phobia and Anxiety?
They say that courage is the mastery of fear. But in order to master or “overcome” your fear, you must identify what these fears are and what causes them.
Below are examples of experiences that result in dentophobia.
- Traumatic dental experience.
- Everyone has to go to the dentist to improve oral health. But there can be times that the experience can go south and may lead to more profound anxiety that would make you feel embarrassed to go to the dentist.
- It could be an experience as a child that never goes away when you reach adulthood. Some manage to overcome it along the way, while others may not get over it and prefer not to visit a dentist.
- Previous anxiety disorder.
- There are different forms of fear. One of them could create a severe fear in undergoing dental operations. This fear is called trypanophobia or the fear of needles.
- People with trypanophobia have an extreme fear of needles involving injections, which can lead to avoiding dental visits after all.
- Previous negative experience with other doctors.
- Your negative experience with other doctors may create an extreme fear of dentists. If kids have a severe fear of dentists, it will be difficult for them to get over it but maybe coped up with the intervention of adults or parents.
- If you are experiencing this fear, you will need at least one good experience with the doctors, and the fear will gradually disappear.
Complications and Effects
Dentists will not only address your current dental problems but will help you prevent further complications. One thing that a dentist can do is to prevent plaque buildup.
When plaque is not removed right away, it could accumulate and result in a decaying tooth.
If you have tooth decay, it will eventually result in a loss of teeth or gum problems like gingivitis. The swollen red gums may create discomfort for you.
Gingivitis needs to be treated as it could lead to more severe infections and could be a threat to your health.
Oral cancer could be one of the possible illnesses you may get when you neglect to visit a dentist. The uncontrollable growth of unnecessary cells may cause damage to the surrounding tissues.
It would start as a sore in the gums or mouth that may not go away, and if not treated right away, it could be life-threatening. Regular visitation to the dentist may prevent this problem and help you avoid oral cancer.
Tips in Overcoming Dentophobia
Afraid of dentist phobia is a fear that you need to overcome. This is to prevent complications in your teeth and mouth. What can you do to win the battle against dentophobia? Can it be eradicated?
The following tips may help to overcome your fear.
- Visit a dentist that specializes in helping patients with dental fear.
- If you have not set an appointment with a dentist yet, it is time to get one. Your first step is to look for the best dentist on the record.
- You may ask around or consult your friends or family members who know reputable dentists near you. Their good referral will help you build your confidence and trust to visit a dentist.
- Divert your attention to other things while in a dentist’s chair.
- Actually sitting on a dentist’s chair will manifest your dentophobia. Just the idea that someone will perform those you thought are scary procedures is chilling.
- When you are seated you can make yourself busy by looking around, listening to your favorite music on your headphones, or watching TV if there is one in the dentist’s room. Keeping yourself entertained while waiting for the dentist will ease your mind.
- Review your dentist’s way of handling procedures and treatments.
- If you already have a dentist but are still afraid to face another session, you might want to check his procedures and how he handles different oral treatments. It will help you feel at ease or confident and could give you enough courage to call for an appointment.
- See your psychologist first.
- If you really can’t help and need some guidance, you can consult with your psychologist prior to your dental checkup. He or she understands your struggles better and could help you avert your fears and develop positive attitudes on how you can turn your next dental appointment into a successful visit.
Ways Dentists Can Help you with Dentophobia.
It is essential to understand that dentists care about your oral health and want to be with you through the process. The dentists of PV Smiles have the same concern, especially to patients with dentophobia.
They recognize the need to become not only your dental specialist but as your friend. They adopted specific medical techniques to lessen the pain or eliminate it as you undergo dental procedures.
- Topical anesthesia.
- Unlike other anesthesia, topical anesthesia may be applied by spraying or applying it on the surface of your skin or gums instead of injecting it. However, this is only applicable to simple dental procedures.
- Painless injections.
- The painless injection is a product of advanced technology that controls the pressure and flow rate. This way of applying anesthesia is recommended to people that have a fear of needles. It will reduce the discomfort of injections.
- IV sedation.
- IV sedation or intravenous anesthesia is a type of anesthesia applied with a tube inserted into the veins. When given this, it will make you awake during the operation, but you will have less memory about the whole procedure.
Maintaining oral health is vital. It will not only give you a nice set of teeth, but it will also help reduce the risk of serious oral problems.
Your Dentophobia must be overcome. Knowing its causes and symptoms will help you understand it, how it controls you, and make you get into a step-by-step process of overcoming it.
While you should visit a dentist and have your teeth and gums checked, you may also need to consult whenever you encounter dental problems. Get the courage to overcome them and know that the dentist will help you through any dental processes and procedures.