How awful! A dentist appointment keeps you awake? Do you have a cold sweat just thinking about it? Do you have knots in your stomach when you approach the door to your dentist’s office? You may then have dental phobia. Phobias are extreme fears; anxieties experienced when faced with particular objects or particular situations. Some of them, such as arachnophobia (fear of spiders), acrophobia (fear of heights), or agoraphobia (fear of public places or crowds), are better known to the general public.
Symptoms of dental phobia
Here are some symptoms that may help you spot your dental phobia:
- You are particularly nervous when approaching an appointment with your dentist;
- You neglect your routine visits;
- You constantly postpone your appointment for fear of seeing the dentist;
- You ignore your dental problems, even when they cause you severe pain;
- Your heart rate quickens, or you experience physical discomfort at the thought of having a dental procedure, even when it is a simple cleaning;
- You feel like you are losing control when it comes to dentistry.
What are the causes of dental phobia?
A bad experience may be at the origin of your dental phobia. Most often, this negative memory goes back to childhood. Perhaps it is your fear of needles that makes you nervous when you visit the dentist. These fears are quite normal.
Some patients do not go to the dentist because they know they have to remove their teeth and are terrified of tooth extractions. The wisdom tooth extraction, located after the second molar, is not always necessary, but the dentist assesses the condition from time to time. However, wisdom teeth removal is for many the ultimate dental fear. The fear of extracting a wisdom tooth is one of the constants of a dentist’s job. Dentists know these dynamics well because patients often wonder why to arrive at this solution when conservative techniques avoid extractions as much as possible.
If you happen to postpone your dental appointments because of your anxieties, know that these delays could bring you many other inconveniences, lead to a much more critical intervention, and, consequently, further accentuate your stress. Also, the dentists can provide natural and spiritual anxiety treatment without medication by making their customers feel comfortable and establishing a relationship of trust and care.
Solutions to overcome your fear
If you recognize yourself in the few introductory lines of this article, don’t hesitate any longer: talk to your dentist!
Acupuncture and hypnosis are also effective in some patients with dental phobia. The best dentists are used to treating patients who are distressed by the idea of a dental visit and knows how to adapt to make your experience as pleasant and as stress-free as possible. Dentists, hygienists, and dental assistants are at your disposal and show the most extraordinary empathy towards you.
Conclusion: Once notified, your dentist can also, if necessary, prescribe medication to help reduce your stress. He may have recourse to nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or even a light anxiolytic. These, combined with local anesthesia, will help make your visit to the dentist a less stressful experience.