Going to the dentist is a fact of life if people want to keep their teeth healthy and properly cared for. However, just like some people dread the thought of going to the hospital, others absolutely hate to go to the dentist. Dental phobia is a very real condition that more people suffer from than some people might realize. While some people might fear some parts of going to the dentist more than others, there are a few common dental fears that many people who suffer from dental phobia tend to have more than others.
Fear of the Dental Tools
For many people, the scariest part of going to the dentist is the ominous-looking dental tools that the dentist might potentially have to use on them. The shrill noise of the drill is oftentimes associated with pain, even though in most cases, the drill actually doesn’t provide any pain to the patient. The grinding sound of the drill is oftentimes much more painful than when the drill makes contact with the teeth. Many patients are also simply fearful of dental equipment because of the sharp tips that much of the equipment has as well as the stark metallic appearance.
Fear of Needles
People who hate the thought of needles oftentimes fear this part of going to the dentist the most. While the dentist doesn’t always have to use needles, if patients have to have any teeth pulled or have to undergo any other type of procedure that requires a bit of numbing agent to prevent the patient from undergoing pain, then a needle is oftentimes inserted into the gums to inject the numbing agent. As if needle phobias aren’t bad enough, oftentimes the needles that dentists use to inject the gums are extremely large and scary-looking. Patients can close their eyes to help deal with their phobia of needles at the dentist.
The Dentist Seems Ominous
Some patients simply have a phobia of the dentist because the dentist himself of herself seems ominous. This is especially the case for patients who might have trust issues and are wary of allowing a stranger to stick sharp and otherwise potentially harmful objects into their mouths. Studies have proven that dentists who use humor, compassion and are friendly are better able to break down this phobia and put patients at ease.
Sensitive Gag Reflex
People who suffer from a sensitive gag reflex might have a phobia of going to the dentist because many of the procedures that a dentist performs could trigger their reflexes. When dentists take impressions and perform other actions that get close to the back of the throat, patients with gag reflexes might have to struggle to control their reflexes. Not only is the reflex uncomfortable, but it can also be embarrassing. There’s no need to worry, though, because dentists are accustomed to dealing with patients who suffer from this reflex and aren’t judgmental concerning it.
Fear of Panic Attacks
Patients who suffer from panic attacks might feel especially uncomfortable at the dentist. Something as simple as lying back in the patient chair and having a stranger looming over them can trigger a sense of panic, which could send them into a panic attack. Surrendering control can be a huge issue for those who suffer from panic attacks. Patients can help deal with this phobia by closing their eyes and trying to relax throughout the procedure instead of focusing on any stifling factors.
Other people who aren’t happy with the appearance of their teeth might simply have a phobia about what the dentist is going to think of his or her dental situation. However, it’s important to remember that dentists are accustomed to seeing virtually every type of dental condition out there. It’s their job to correct the teeth and improve their appearance and health, so there’s no need to be embarrassed about the state of the teeth when visiting the dentist. Dentists are used to seeing poor dental health and dental situations that require treatment.
Chan, Amanda L.. “Dental phobia: 7 common fears, and how to conquer them .” Retrieved on February 23, 2016, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/06/dental-phobia-fears-dentist_n_1257277.html.
The International Society of Dental Anxiety Management. “Common Dental Fears.” Retrieved on February 23, 2016, from http://www.dentalfearcentral.org/fears/.
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