An overwhelming and unreasonable fear to receive dental care is known as “Dental Phobia”. 25% of British population suffers from fear and anxiety before they see a dentist according to one survey by the British Dental Association. Different people experience varying degrees of dental fear from mild to severe. As a result these people try to avoid receiving dental care and often risking their oral health badly.
1. Previous Bad Personal Experiences; this is the most common cause why people develop dental phobias. A previous traumatic and /or painful dental experience leads to the development of such phobias. In addition uncaring, unkind attitude of the dentist lacking sympathy can add on to the development of a dental phobia.
2. Some people develop it after hearing stories from other individuals who have gone through a traumatic dental experience.
3. Perception of lack of control during the procedure leads to development of helplessness and eventually fears.
4. Sometimes previous bad experiences with doctors other than dentists may enhance the fear when people come under hospital environment for a dental procedure.
SIMPLE WAYS TO OVERCOME DENTAL PHOBIA
You can try some very simple ways to overcome your phobia, but the first step in doing this is to find out what exactly is bothering you. Just relax and think what it is making you anxious. Is it the fear of the diagnosis you will get, fear of pain, needles, and drills or is it the feeling of being powerless during a procedure unable to help yourself and stop the procedure if it becomes painful. You should also bear in mind that dentists are specialized doctors specifically trained to deal with nervous patients and that you may not be one of the most nervous patients that they have dealt with, they may have been through countless more complicated scenarios than yours.
1. Know you’re Dentist Better:
Try to make few visits before the actual surgery. This builds up your confidence in your dentist. Feel free to discuss your fears and your concerns with your dentist beforehand and try to build a healthy and trusting relationship. Ask him/her to explain to you the whole procedure in a step wise manner so your mind knows what is coming up next and hence stays relaxed.
2. Set A Stop Signal:
The most fearful thing is that you don’t know if you will be able to stop the procedure if it becomes too painful. Talk about it beforehand and make sure that your dentist completely understands how you feel and will go slow at a pace you can tolerate.
Find some ways to distract yourself on the day of surgery. A soft, soothing music may help a lot to keep you calm.
Perhaps the most effective way of overcoming a phobia. It involves sitting down with a therapist and talk and while talking you view and learn to co-op with your feared object or situation differently. You may try Desensitization, in which repeated gradual exposure to the situation you fear helps to conquer your anxiety for example you may try and sit in a dental chair a couple of times before your actual surgery day to find out how it feels. This may help a lot when you actually sit in the chair for surgery and find yourself relaxed.
So it is not too difficult to overcome your dental phobia and obviously if these simple measures don’t work there are some pharmacological therapies to overcome the fear and anxiety which can be recommended if needed but please bear in mind whatever you do please do not neglect your dental health just because of your fears, after all your smile matters!