WHAT IS DENTOPHOBIA?The fear of the dentist is a shallow definition of dentophobia. Dentophobia can also include the fear of things related to dental work such as offices, procedures, and treatments. The fear of the dentist may become severe such that it causes anxiety or panic attacks. If you have dentophobia, you may begin showing signs such as breaking down in the dentist’s office, avoiding dentist appointments on purpose, and shaking at the idea of visiting a dentist. Dental fear cuts across people of all ages. The first step to overcoming dentophobia is identifying what you are afraid of and why you are scared.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF DENTOPHOBIA?In most cases, negative past experiences are the primary causes of dentophobia. You may have had this phobia as a child, and it stuck with you even into adulthood. Some people may fear the noise that dental tools make. Perhaps you experienced severe pain or lack of empathy during a visit to your dentist. Such situations can impact your future visits to the dentist. Apart from these causes, your fear of the dentist may be rooted in concerns you may have about your oral health. Maybe you have skipped several dental checkups, and you are afraid of receiving bad news. Whatever the cause, talking about your fears with a dental professional at the Dental Center of Norcross can help you overcome your fear.
OVERCOMING DENTOPHOBIALike most fears, it can take a little time to overcome dentophobia. However, there are a few ways to overcome this phobia. These methods can range from behavioral therapy to medication. You can remedy some mild fears by going to the dentist instead of avoiding your appointment. A dentist can also use relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and guided imagery to help you relax during the dental procedure. During significant dental work, you can request a sedation dentistry service, which allows you to relax during a dental procedure. In some severe cases, you may require a combination of therapies and medication to combat your fear. For instance, exposure therapy allows you to regularly visit the dentist without sitting for any exam until you are comfortable making a full appointment. Anti-anxiety medications can help you overcome fear during the initial visits to the dentist.
HOW TO STAY CALM DURING YOUR DENTAL VISITSIf you suffer from dentophobia but must undergo dental treatment, you can use some strategies to help you stay calm. These tips include:
- Visiting the dentist’s office at a less busy time of the day
- Using noise-canceling headphones
- Bringing a friend to your appointment
- Practicing deep breathing techniques
- Utilizing sedation dentistry services