Wednesday, November 22, 2023

How to Cope with an Irrational Fear of the Dentist

For many people who suffer from some degree of dental phobia, technically known as odontophobia or dentophobia, a typical visit to the dentist can be an absolute nightmare. People with a phobia of going to the dentist have a reflex to feel a fight or flight response whenever they are in the dentist’s chair, even if their visit is simply for the purpose of a dental check-up. Dental phobias can stem from a number of different things, including previous traumatic experiences at the dentist or an accident that required stitches in or near the mouth. When you have a phobia of the dentist, it can be severely detrimental to your dental health as those suffering from this tend to avoid dental visits at all costs, even allowing oral conditions to worsen.

Speaking to Your Dentist

If you suffer from dental phobia, the most important thing that you need to do is speak to your dentist and make sure that they are fully aware of the situation. Good dentists are fully trained to deal with nervous or frightened patients and will be able to help you when it comes to knowing what to do to get over your phobia and take positive steps towards overcoming these feelings of fear. For example, Dr. Michael Malek is a Santa Cruz Sedation Dentist who specializes in sedating patients with phobias to help them feel more comfortable. 

Fear of the Unknown

One of the biggest things that puts patients with dental phobia off registering at and visiting a new dental surgery is the fear of the unknown. Since patients with dental phobia do not usually tend to make a regular habit of visiting the dentist, going to see a new dentist can be an even more daunting experience for them. If you have a dental phobia and need to see a new dentist, it might be a good idea to book a pre-visit to get to know the dentist themselves and become familiar with the surgery before your procedure.

Dental Equipment

Sometimes, the worst part of having a dental procedure is the different types of equipment that are used. Having strange, sharp metal tools stuck into your mouth is never a nice experience, and for those with a phobia of the dentist, it can be even worse. Dentists suggest that asking to hold the tools first can help you get used to them as they won’t seem so foreign.

Change Your Dentist

Does your dentist do absolutely nothing to help your fear whenever you have to pay them a visit? If your dentist is making you feel worse or putting you off from visiting, changing to a different dentist could be just what you need. Empathy and humor are big factors when it comes to reducing fear, according to a study, so find a dentist who can make you laugh and you will be feeling better in no time.

Patients with a phobia of the dentist can be this way for a range of different reasons. But, by taking the right steps toward understanding your fears, they become easier to conquer.

Image by Memed_Nurrohmad from Pixabay

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