Dental Phobia: Overcoming Some Pretty Scary Stuff
Dental Phobia or dentophobia – is that “oh-no,” knot-in-your-stomach, fear of going to the dentist. If the mere thought of “The Dentist” has you trembling and the theme from “Jaws” starts playing in your head, you suffer from dental phobia and you are not alone. Harvard Medical School reports more than 13% of folks on this planet are scared of the dentist, that’s more than 30 million people! While it may seem like the dentist’s office is a very scary place, it doesn’t have to be. Read on to learn how easily dental phobia can be managed and overcome.
Scary, Scarier, Scariest – 3 Forms of Dental Phobia
Okay, so we know that lots and lots of people suffer from dental phobia. But actually, dental phobia is an umbrella term for a whole range of fear. Dental fear can range in severity from “bad” to almost paralyzing. Let’s take a closer look at that “oh-no” feeling and what it can look like.
• Dental Anxiety – dental anxiety is basically the fear that comes with not knowing what to expect. If you’ve never had your teeth cleaned or never had a dental examination, you could be anxious about the procedure. If you are going to a new dentist you might have some dental anxiety. It comes with the territory when experiencing something completely new to you.
• Dental Fear – dental fear relates to knowing what to expect and being afraid. Maybe you have had an unpleasant teeth cleaning experience in the past, or had a dentist you didn’t like. It would be natural to feel dental fear at the idea of having another cleaning or examination, especially if you experienced any kind of pain or discomfort in the past.
• Dental Phobia – dental phobia occurs when common anxiety and fear become so magnified and out of control they actually prevent you from going to the Dentist. When you are that fearful and anxious, you may avoid going to the Dentist even when you know you have a desperate situation that needs immediate attention.
Whether you are scared, scarder, or scardest – if you have issues with going to the Dentist your fears can keep you from getting the help you need.
Are YOU Dental Phobic?
You know, you just might be dental phobic. If your palms sweat the night before or you get nauseous on the way to your appointment, you may have dental phobia. If you break into tears in the waiting room, or go into a panic at the sight of dental drills, you really may have dental phobia. If you’ve changed your name and address so your dentist can’t find you, you are probably dental phobic. If you haven’t seen the dentist since George Bush was President, you are absolutely dental phobic.
If you do suffer from dental phobia it is not your fault. Most likely it came about as a result of an awful experience in your past. Maybe you had a painful procedure. Maybe you were scared by the x-rays or by the uncertainty of what was going to happen next. Did you know some people are just afraid of having their mouths examined? Some people are embarrassed about their teeth and gums and the way they look. Some people just feel powerless in the dentist chair. There are many causes for dental fear.
Dental Phobia: Easy to Treat
While there are many reasons for fear and the varying degrees of anxiety, there is help for dental phobia. The key to overcoming fear is to ask, ask, and ask:
1. Ask a friend to accompany you to your visit – you feel more at ease with a companion and a familiar face nearby.
2. Ask for sedation or pain minimizing procedures – today’s improved techniques make procedures like teeth cleaning more comfortable with state-of-the art equipment and numbing agents.
3. Ask for information – feel free to ask for details about any procedure, how long it will last, what it will involve, what to expect.
4. Also, remember there is no shame to being fearful. Take control of your fear and make yourself as comfortable as possible. Wear loose clothing, bring along your MP3 music player downloaded with your favorite tunes and practice slow, deep breathing.
5. Most importantly, find a dentist who understands dental phobia and how to manage it.
I’m Scott Williams and I am a family dentist in Greeley CO while also serving the Eaton, Evans, Windsor, and Kersey CO areas. You can defeat the dental phobia monster and we can help. No longer do you have to put off the family dental care you need to live a healthy and happy life.
At Ascent Family Dental we understand nervousness, anxiety and fear. Our goal is to be your partner in the battle of fear; it is a battle we can win. Don’t wait a moment longer. Contact our friendly and professional staff today to discuss your fears… we can make them go away for good.