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Dental Phobia, understanding ‘Fear of the Dentist’

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fear dentist phobia

Do you fear visiting a dentist? Does the very thought of sitting on a dentist’s chair for some examination or treatment procedures frighten you? Have you been experiencing oral problems and ignoring them because you do not have the confidence to visit a dentist?

If the answer to any of these questions is ‘yes’, do not worry because you are not alone, and this is a common phenomenon which can affect people of any age. However, there is no reason to succumb to it.

How Can I Tell That I Have Dental Phobia?

Some of the signs that you could be fearing the dentist include;

• Feeling physically sick or even crying at the very thought of visiting a dentist.

• Being nervous while at the dental clinic waiting room.

• Finding it hard to sleep the night before visiting the dental clinic.

• Feeling unease at the thought of, or when an object is placed in your mouth during examination or treatment.

Why Do I Have Dental Phobia?

Some of the common reasons why you could be fearing the dentist include the following;

• Fear of pain. You could be extremely sensitive to pain, and fear that you may experience too much pain during the treatment process.

• Traumatic experiences in the past. Maybe you have had complications from painful procedures before.

• Feelings of being helpless or out of control. You imagine yourself sitting on a dental chair with your mouth wide open while you cannot see what is happening to you.

• Bad interaction with a dentist in the past. You may have had an interaction with a dentist whose attitude towards you was not friendly.

• Fear of injections. Especially when given in your mouth.

• Feelings of embarrassment about your oral health. Thinking about how your teeth are, mouth odours, etc.

• Fear of anesthetic side effects. You may fear that the anesthesia will make you feel dizzy or nauseated, or maybe you do not like the numbness it causes.

• Fear of the sights sounds and smells at the dentist. These may heighten your anxiety.

• Indirect experiences. You may have heard in person or on the media about someone’s bad experience at the dentist.

• Anxiety about cost. You may feel that the procedures may be too expensive, especially if your insurance does not cover it.

How Can I Manage Dental Phobia?

Some of the tips to easing the fear include the following;

• Find an understanding dentist (you can ask from family and friends).

• After getting the dentist, visit the clinic, familiarize yourself with environment, and meet the dentist and the dental team.

• Feel free to regularly visit the dentist and explain to him/her your feelings.

• Try pro-active breathing and relaxation techniques while at the clinic. These can help in calming your nerves.

• You can choose to start with check-up visit, then minor procedures like teeth cleaning, then once you have built up trust and rapport with your dentist, schedule for other treatments.

• Use headphones to listen to some music during the treatment procedures- this will act as a distraction from any noises which may make you anxious.

• Take a friend with you to your appointment.

No matter how serious your case might be, there are ways to overcome it. At the Periodontist Dental Centre we try to understand our patients’ fears and also realize that being gentle and kind to them can do a lot to make dental treatment as normal as any other kind of treatment. Chat Us Online or Call us today on 0716 521043 or book appointment online and enjoy our services.

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