Many people miss their dental appointments because of everyday setbacks, such as unexpected car repairs, illness, or death in the family. Nobody can avoid these events, but some people make an active effort to avoid their dentist even when things run smoothly. In fact, roughly 9% to 20% of Americans fear going to the dentist because of anxiety. Dental phobia has become a universal phenomenon that has left many panic-stricken and terrified. People who suffer from dental phobia realize that they have an irrational fear, but this avoidance may cause severe discomfort that may lead to them canceling or failing to show for their appointment.
Signs of Dental Phobia
Many people experience trouble sleeping the night before a dental exam or oral surgery. They may experience feelings of nervousness that escalate before visiting the dentist. Some may cry or start to feel physically ill at the very thought of keeping their dentist appointment. The psychological distress often causes a fight or flight response when a dentist places objects into the mouth of the affected patient. All of these signs and symptoms have a correlation with several underlying factors, such as the fear of pain, fear of injections, fear of side effects, feelings of distrust and vulnerability. People who suffer from this phobia may feel a sense of hopelessness. Fear not! There exists treatment options that could help alleviate symptoms and even eliminate dental phobia altogether.
- Easing Dental Fears in Adults
- What is Dental Anxiety and Phobia?: Symptoms
- Fear of Pain: Case Study Nargis
- Recognition of Patients with Fear of Dentists
- Drilling Into Our Fear Of The Dentist and What To Do About It
The loud sound of dental tools, accompanied by tales told by a family member in the waiting room, tend to inject fear into normal patients. Imagine the same discomfort amplified to an irrational level. It can feel exhausting, frustrating, and debilitating when it comes time to confront dentophobia. Many dental phobics identify with each other, especially when sharing their common fears. Some of the common fears that dental phobics experience center around the fear of the unknown, fear of dental equipment, fear of gag reflex, fear of loud noises, fear of being unable to breathe, and the fear of an ominous dental crew.
- Dental Phobia: 7 Common Fears, And How To Conquer Them
- Common Dental Fears
- Common Fears and Their Relationship to Dental Fear and Utilization of th Dentist (PDF)
- Phobias and Fears: Common Types of Phobias and Fears
- Conquering Dental Fear
Millions of people avoid their dental appointments based on their inability to deal with the discomfort of their anxiety. In fact, they would rather sit through the pain of a cavity than to speak with a dentist they trust about their fears. A dentist will listen and may offer tips to help cope with the anxiety until it subsides. If the dentist or personnel fails to accommodate their patients, then it may be time to move on towards better horizons. Communicate with the dentist about the phobia to find a quick resolution. It should mainly consist of relaxation and distraction techniques guided by the dentist. Other forms of treatment exist for severe sufferers, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and pharmaceutical agents. Patients can also help themselves by meditating and using guided hypnosis to achieve a relaxed state before arriving at the dental office. Confronting dental phobia is the best treatment option available. Do not continue the avoidance behavior, or else it will get worse. Find a competent dentist and trust that he or she will do their job the right way.
- Guideline on Behavior Guidance for the Pediatric Dental Patient (PDF)
- Is Sedation Dentistry the Cure for Dental Anxiety?
- Easing Dental Phobia in Adults
- Music Interventions for Dental Anxiety in Pediatric and Adult Patients (PDF)
- Exposure Therapies for Specific Phobias
- Treating Dental Fears; "My Choice or My Obligation?": A Look at the Management and Treatment of Dental Anxiety
- When Health Fears Hurt Health
- My Fear of the Dentist
- Academy of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Phobias
- Optimism and Humour Can Help to Combat Dental Fear
- Anxiety (Dental Fear and Phobia): Diagnosis And Treatment
- Self-Assessment of Dental Anxiety in Patients Visiting Comprehensive Rural Health Service Project (PDF)
- Tips to Cut Down on Dental Anxiety
- Dental Phobia and Dental Anxiety: A Five-Minute Cure
- Treatment of Two Dental Phobia Cases (PDF)