Dentophobia is defined as an extreme fear of going to the dentist. Approximately 2.7% of men and 4.6% of women have dentophobia. Given how important it is to look after our dental hygiene, having a fear of the dentist can have serious health impacts on people.
Often, the result of dentophobia is that people only visit a dentist when the pain becomes worse than the fear itself. The longer people avoid visiting a dentist, the greater their fears can become. This delay in seeing a dentist only worsens dental issues, which can result in feelings of shame and greater fear.
In this blog post, we’ll look at some of the common reasons why people fear going to the dentist. We’ll also outline some tips for overcoming these fears and advice if your children are afraid.
Why People Have Fear of the Dentist?
One possible reason that people fear visiting a dental clinic is due to an unpleasant or painful past experience. This fear may stem from childhood and steadily grown over the years. Hearing about dental-visits-gone-wrong, whether on the news or from other people, can put people off going to a dentist themselves.
Embarrassment is another possible reason, as is the feeling of ‘loss of control’ when sitting in a dentist’s chair. Another possible reason is people’s fear of medical procedures involving needles, which is known as trypanophobia.
Tips to Overcome Your Fears
If you dislike the feeling of not having any control when sitting in a dentist’s chair, ask the dentist to explain each stage of the procedure before it happens. That at least gives you a feeling of understanding and reduced any blind panic you may feel.
Agree on a stop signal with your dentist. This may simply be raising your hand to let them know that you need a break. Take a moment here to catch your breath or rinse out your mouth with water.
Another useful tip is to listen to music using earbuds. This can drown out the noise from any equipment and can take your mind off the work that the dentist is doing.
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Advice If Your Child Is Afraid
A child may fear visiting a dentist become it is an ‘unknown’, and therefore scary, place. Answer any questions they have and put their mind at ease with reassuring answers.
If you have had any unpleasant experiences from visiting a dentist, don’t share them with your child. Purchase a child-friendly book that provides easy-to-digest information on dental visits and the importance of good dental hygiene.
Finally, never reward them for visiting a dentist. This can make them assume that a dental visit is something that needs to be ‘overcome’, which can suggest it will be unpleasant.
Overcome Your Fear of Visiting the Dentist
If you have a fear of the dentist, the above practical advice can help you overcome your uncertainty. Always speak to your dentist first if you are feeling nervous. They will understand this and take it slowly while being mindful to put you at ease during the appointment.
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