Dental Phobia

dental-disLet’s face it – a large proportion of us do not relish going to see the dentist. Apparently one in four people fear going to a dental surgery. Perhaps concerns stem from the fact our mouths are literally in the hands of a dentist; someone we must have confidence in and trust. The thought of injections, possibly pain and mouthwash can cause alarm bells to ring.

Whatever it is, for some people the fear of going to the dentist can be a serious issue which can become advanced. Dental phobia, as it’s known, is a severe fear of visiting the dentist. It can cause people to suffer and to avoid properly taking care of their oral health, which is clearly not a good thing.

Fortunately help is at hand and there are several ways the problem can be addressed. Rather than stay in silence, patients are encouraged to seek help – with a calm, patient and understanding dentist key to tackling the phobia.

More about dental phobia

The fear of going to the dentist can escalate from a minor grumble to a terrifying ordeal. When it reaches this stage, this is what is known as dental phobia. This often originates from a bad experience the patient has had in the past and can lead to that person becoming deeply distressed just by seeing an advert with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Severe distress, often in the form of panic attacks, can also be brought on just by the thought of visiting a dental surgery.

What can be done about the problem?

If you have a fear of going to the dentists, it’s vital you address the problem. Simply ignoring it will be bad for your oral health and it will not solve the fear. Get to the root of the issue!

The NHS recommends finding a dentist who can help you deal with the phobia. At the surgery the dentist will be able to take a history to find out where the fear stems from. From there, they can offer advice about what can be done to tackle the problem. It always helps to have a dentist who is sympathetic and patient, listening to what you have to say and making you feel at ease.

tooth-2A good idea, which can be discussed with the dentist, is to set manageable targets. Simple tasks set each week, to help overcome the fear of dental surgeries, can help the patient make progress and boost their confidence as they fulfil their targets.

Your dentist may seek to desensitise you to particular treatments, breaking down barriers in order to get you accustomed to the environment which may have triggered the phobia in the first place.

Another option is sedation, which will normally only be used whether it is the only way of ensuring the patient with a phobia gets the proper dental treatment they require.

Whatever happens, never forget that help is at hand. The main thing a patient should do is seek to address the problem as soon as possible, rather than sit in silence and suffer.

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