Since the birth of motion pictures and television, the fear of going to the dentist has been a common scene portrayed. The fear of the dentist, however, is not just for the sake of entertainment. Almost everyone has had a phobia of the dentist at some point in their lives, but most times, this does not prevent them from having a routine dental check-up or procedure.
Real dental phobia, often known as dentophobia (or odontophobia), is a different thing entirely. Anxiety over going to the dentist may be so overwhelming that patients will do anything to avoid it. Dental treatment is often only done when it is no longer possible to manage any longer due to severe discomfort. Here’s a guide about Dentophobia; the causes, and how to manage it.
What is Dentophobia?
Dentist phobia, dental fear, dental anxiety, odontophobia, and dentophobia are the different terms used to describe the fear of dental procedures. For various reasons, many people are scared of going to the dentist. Studies show that about 75% of people in the United States are afraid to see the dentist, and out of this 75%, only 5% to 10% have a real phobia that can harm their physical health.
People with real dental phobias, as opposed to typical fears of the dentist, may have physical symptoms even before they go in for their dental treatment. Here are some of the following possible symptoms before the treatment: Rapid heart racing (tachycardia), Hypertension, Dry mouth, Trepidation, Nausea, Sleep disorders during the night before the treatment day, Heart throbbing, Suffocation, Hyperventilation, Urge to urinate frequently.
When it comes to fear of the dentist, it can affect people of different ages, however, women are more likely than men to suffer from it.
How to Overcome a Dental Phobia
A few strategies can help ease dental anxiety if it is a real concern for you. Here are some ideas to help you manage your fear of visiting the dentist:
Home Treatment with Aligners
If you’re concerned about your dental condition but you are scared of visiting the dentist, you can opt for home treatment with aligners. At the moment, home aligners are the only alternative for orthodontic treatment that can be completed under the guidance of a dental expert while yet allowing for at-home comfort. You’ll work with a dentist or orthodontist who checks your progress remotely to ensure that your treatment is going well. If you are looking to get started with an aligner, you can check out this comprehensive teeth aligner’s guide.
Openly Discuss Your Fears
Your dentist should know if you’re afraid of the dentist. Ensure you openly discuss your fears. It makes the dentist, understand how to be more patient and treat you better. Many dentists may offer you medication to help you relax if you’re having a stressful time during your visit. Depending on your pain tolerance, they may also be ready to administer an anesthetic or gas to ease your anxiety.
Take a Deep Breath and Relax
A dental appointment can be stressful, so it’s crucial to take a deep breath and calm yourself. Relax and loosen yourself by practicing deep breathing exercises. You might also visualize yourself in a calm environment. You’ll be able to get through your visit with a little less stress.
Bring a Distraction, Friend, or Relative
Another alternative is to bring something or someone to keep you occupied while waiting for your appointment to begin. A pair of headphones might allow you to take your mind off of your visit. If you want to relax, throw on some soothing music by your favorite musician or put together a soothing playlist. For those who don’t like music, another alternative is to grip a stress ball. Take your anxiousness out on a friend or relative if it helps, and having something to fidget with or clutch is often helpful.
Check for Positive Reviews
Do some research before you decide not to show up for your appointment. If you’re nervous about seeing the dentist, it can be reassuring to know that others have had positive experiences. This is an important tip to know as you visit your dentist.
Know the Importance of Visiting the Dentist
One point to note is that a trip to the dentist is important. Avoiding the dentist might lead to more serious issues, so don’t ignore your dental condition. Gum disease and other oral health problems may be extremely painful and distressing to deal with and they can affect your overall health. You can avoid having bad dental health by seeing the dentist.
Understand the Importance of Going to the Dentist
The important thing to remember is that it’s essential to see the dentist. Whatever discomfort you might have, keep in mind that not going to the dentist can result in even bigger problems. Issues like gum disease and other oral disorders can be quite uncomfortable. If you go to the dentist you can avoid having poor oral health.
What are the Causes of Dentophobia?
Here are some causes of dental phobia:
Fear of Pain
Dentist visits are dreaded by many people due to their fear of pain. Even though a dental operation isn’t particularly painful, it might be a significant concern to some people. The fear of needles is similar to the fear of getting an injection for some persons. An unpleasant dental encounter may also cause a bad memory for certain individuals. For example, if an adult had an unpleasant dental session when they were younger, they may still keep that memory with them, even though their pain threshold has matured. Fear of the dentist is triggered by the mere thought of a painful procedure.
Myths and False Information
Dentophobia is a fear that many individuals suffer from because of the horrible things they’ve heard about dental procedures. For whatever reason, a friend or family member may have had an unpleasant experience at the hands of a dentist, or they may have heard horror stories about the practice from others. In other cases, word-of-mouth is what makes people fear and keeps them from seeing the dentist owing to anxiety. Some people are not brave enough to visit the dentist themselves and experience the session. They feel that if those around them have had a bad experience, they will as well.
Dental offices are notoriously noisy, and this may be excruciating for some individuals. This is especially because of the high-pitched “turbine” sound, caused by a fast-moving air-driven drill. Many dental phobia sufferers experience panic episodes as a result of it. Those who find the sound of dental instruments on their teeth disturbing may choose to avoid the dentist’s office entirely. To them, it’s like hammering nails into a blackboard.
Eugenol, a synthetic clove oil found in dental cement and pharmaceuticals, is the cause of distinctive odor in many dental clinics. When this odor is perceived by a patient who is prone to experiencing panic attacks, it might trigger a sense of fear.
Dental Tools and Equipment
Dentures and other dental procedures can cause anxiety in certain people. They are apprehensive of dental equipment, metal, and drills, and find them frightening. For example, a patient’s visual impression of the instruments or other qualities linked with previous treatment experiences might contribute to heightened fear in the individual.
Patients who suffer from dental phobia are more likely to neglect their oral health and go years without receiving the care they need. This fear might also hurt your self-esteem and interpersonal relationships. Fear of the dentist can be managed with the assistance of your physician and/or dentist. Techniques like exposure therapy, guided imagery, and relaxation techniques can be used to alleviate stress and enhance your life quality.