It is estimated that more than a third(34%) of Adults in the UK are scared of dentists. And with many of these individuals likely to avoid going to the dentist altogether, the impact of this fear on their oral health can be huge. In this article, we want to try and help those who have ‘dental phobia’ understand what it is and how they can overcome it.
Causes of Dentophobia
There are many causes of dentophobia. A common explanation for those that have this fear is that they had a previous traumatic experience with the dentist. Their dentist might have been uncaring or treated them in a cold manner which could have triggered it. Hearing about someone else’s negative experience with a dentist can also cause dentophobia, especially with society being so heavily influenced by the mass media. Another cause could come from certain smells, such as hospitals or having a fear of people perceived to be in a position of power.
How to overcome this fear
From behavioral techniques, to medication, there are several methods to nip this phobia in the bud.The longer you leave your dentist appointment, the more time your anxieties will build up in anticipation. Bring noise-canceling headphones or earbuds with music to help you relax. Ask a friend or a loved one to accompany you during your appointment. Practice deep breathing and other meditation techniques to calm your nerves.
If you suffer from dentophobia, one positive thing you can do is to ask your dentist to recommend a therapist. A lot of dentists work with therapists to help patients manage and overcome dentophobia. Dentists who are gentle, calm and use positive reinforcement towards their patients are less likely to have patients with this fear. Another technique dentists use to calm their patients is to praise them after the appointment. This will help boost the patient’s confidence and will get rid of their negative thoughts. Relaxation and deep breathing exercises is a good way to get a patient in the dental chair.
A technique that psychologists often use to reduce a patient’s anxiety is systematic desensitisation. This is when someone is put in front of their fear until they can overcome it without help. Medication is another method that can be used from general anesthesia to mild sedatives. Laughing gas can be used by dentists to relax an anxious patient. It also allows for the patient to be responsive, alert, and able to communicate with the dentist.
Dentists are well aware of the bad reputation they may have and most of them understand their patients’ fears and worries. They can do a lot to make dental treatment stress free and painless, by being kind and considerate. If you do suffer from dental anxiety, your dentist will be able to discuss any procedures with you and discuss what can be done to make you feel more at ease.
Dentists are there to help you, just like Floe
Be aware that your fear of the dentist is normal. Thousands of people are experiencing the same fear, however it shouldn’t keep you from getting proper dental care, which can have serious effects on your health. Not going to the dentist regularly can lead to cavities, abscesses, broken or missing teeth, and bad breath. As well as going to the dentist, it is also important to have the right oral health tools. Let us introduce you to our subscription box:
- A brand new Curaprox brush – with over 5000 soft bristles, gives unrivalled cleaning coverage to remove plaque more effectively.
- Dawn toothpaste – designed to whiten using natural ingredients that are kind to your enamel.
- Dusk toothpaste – suited to the needs of your mouth in the morning and evening.
- Activated charcoal natural floss – made from bamboo charcoal fibres – effective flossing at a price that doesn’t cost the earth.
If you have a fear of going to the dentist, it can take time to work through it. But in the meantime, you can take huge positive steps to improve your oral health at home.