Dentophobia: The fear of dentists. No one likes to visit the dentist, but some people experience a kind of anxiety that may turn into a fear or even a phobia. A fear which results in adoidance of visits to the dentist.
Dentophobia is a very common affliction. It is also referred to as odontophobia, dental fear or dental anxiety. Phobias related to blood and the fear of injections or needles may also prevent people from visiting their dentist for routine dental care.
The most common way of developing dental fear is through direct experience. Most people have reported that a difficult, traumatic or painful dental experience as the reason for developing the phobia. Another factor that contributes to the phobia is the dentist’s perceived manner. It was found out that dentists considered to be impersonal, uninterested, uncaring or cold caused a higher level of dental fear in children when compared with others who were considered to be warm and caring. It’s also a condition which can be passed down. Parents who fear the dentist can, unwittingly, educathe their children to have the same fear.
Dentophobia may also develop as people learn about the traumatic experience of others and hear negative views about the dentistry. The negative depiction of dentistry in cartoons and media also contributes to a person’s fear. Dentophobia can develop because of a prior traumatic experience even if it is in no-dental context. Further, research studies have shown that a feeling of helplessness and a perceived lack of control causes the fear.
Dentophobia, The Fear of Dentists – Introduction
Deal with Dentophobia and say goodbye to your fear of dentists – it’s not as difficult as you may first think thanks to a number of treatment programs that really do work and there’s one we particularly recommend:
Let’s face it, a trip to the dentist is not a particularly nice appointment to have to keep. Whilst procedures have advanced there’s always going to be a degree of discomfort. There’ll likely be a certain degree of pain too. But there’s also the unknown. You take the seat for the check up no knowing if you’re going to need a scale, fillings or even extraction. Then there’s the imposing feel of the experience. Being made to lie back with your mouth open while you trust a stranger with sharp instruments and mirrors to prod around in your mouth. Finally … what about the noises of the drills and other tools … horrible sounds!
No wonder it’s such a common phobia. It’s estimated that between 5 and 15% of adults suffer from dentophobia a severe fear of the dentist. Around 3% will never see a dentist because of these fears. Estimates suggest that it affects children to a slightly greater degree. Up to 20% have a fear of dentists.
In general, women report dental fear more than men. More young people experience the phobia when compared with older individuals. Further more, people experience greater fear when it comes to invasive procedures than less invasive treatment.
Symptoms of Dentophobia
As is the case with any phobia, the symptoms of dentophobia may vary from person to person based on the severity of the fear that they are experiencing. Typically, the symptoms include (amongst others):
- Extreme anxiety.
- Rapid breathing.
- Shortness of breath.
- Irregular heartbeat.
- Excessive sweating.
- Dry mouth.
It’s a relatively simple anxiety that’s not going to affect quality of life as much as many other phobias. Avoidance is simple … don’t visit the dentist! However, this in itself is not the answer and those who do this usually end up worrying about the state of their teeth, decay, gum disease. The result of which would result in being forced to go to the dentist. That’s why it’s important to overcome the fear of dentists.
Treatment Options for Dentophobia
Fear of dentists, dentophobia, is sometimes diagnosed with the help of an instrument for fear measurement such as the Modified Dental Anxiety Scale or Corah’s Dental Anxiety Scale. However, to treat dental anxiety, a combination of pharmacological and behavioral techniques are normally used.
Dentists use behavioral strategies such as positive reinforcement, non-threatening language and tell-show-do. Behavioral treatments that are more specialized include teaching relaxation techniques (progressive muscle relaxation and diaphragmatic breathing) and cognitive techniques (guided imagery and cognitive restructuring). It has been seen that both relaxation as well as cognitive strategies significantly reduce dentophobia.
Systematic desensitization is a cognitive restructuring technique that is used by psychologists to help people overcome anxiety disorders and phobias.
Hypnotherapy is widely regarded as an excellent treatment for the fear of dentists. In this case the brain is simply “re-programmed” to respond to the thought of going to the dentist in a more positive, normal and rational manner. The way it did before the event that triggered the onset of Dentophobia.
Pharmacological techniques employed to manage dentophobia may range from use of mild sedatives to administration of general anesthesia. Dentists often use behavioral and pharmacological techniques in conjunction. Nitrous oxide is a medication that is commonly used by dentists to reduce anxiety. Oral sedatives such as benzodiazepine or triazolam are sometimes prescribed by dentists. Patients may feel calm and sometimes drowsy at the time of dental treatment, but they will be conscious and can communicate with the doctor and staff. In the case of general anesthesia, the sedation will be deeper and patients will not respond to physical or verbal prompts. It’s true to say athat any of these techniques will not cure the fear of dentists. They will only reduce the anxiety when there.
Cure The Fear of Dentists
A recent survey found that fear of dentists affects one in four people. However, it is likely to be a much higher figure in reality … it’s THAT common. So you can see that you’re very much NOT alone! You need not live with dentophobia – you CAN beat your fear of dentists.
We mentioned how effective Hypnotherapy could be. Well, there’s actually a self-hypnosis program called simply “Overcome Fear Of Dentists“. It’s an audio download which you can listen to over and over again whenever you wish. It’s proven extremely effective and reviews are excellent. Believe it or not it costs less than $15 AND comes with a full, 90 day money back guarantee. So, if you’re looking for a cost effective way to beat your fear of dentists, you should check this one out: