Are you worried or nervous about visiting the dentist? Almost everyone at some point has experienced a certain level of apprehension before and during a dental appointment. Over 75% of adults have some form of dental anxiety to be exact. But when this has an affect on your overall health and prevents you from going to regular dental check-ups, this can become a real problem.
At Ten Dental + Facial, we adopt a gentle, caring, and empathetic approach to dental care in delivering a relaxed and stress-free experience for all our patients. Dental phobia (or odontophobia) is defined as an extreme fear of dentists, whereby people can experience varying levels of symptoms and stimuli – even take one step into the clinic can be challenge for some.
That’s why to help alleviate any fears, we have provided some useful information below on what causes dental phobia and how to overcome your anxiety of the dentist to achieve a smile you can be proud of.
Dental phobia causes & symptoms
There are a number of different reasons why people suffer from dental phobia:
- Pain – Not surprisingly this is one of the main causes, as most people commonly associate dental procedures with pain. Plus, if they’ve have had a bad experience or uncomfortable complications in the past, this makes patients even more cautious. However, most treatments performed today are painless.
- Needles and dental instruments – Leading on from this Trypanophobia (the fear of injections or hypodermic needles) is another cause of dental phobia. The sensation of a sharp object coming into contact with skin can be unpleasant to nervous patients, despite local anaesthetic or sedative injections as a necessary measure to prevent pain. The visual image of dental or medical equipment alone can be enough to trigger fear.
- Loss of control – A lack of control while a dentist examines your oral cavity has a big part to play in dental phobia, making people overwhelmed by the situation and feel helpless to avoid it.
As for symptoms, these can range from heart palpitations, nausea, a dry mouth to feeling faint and elevated blood pressure.
Tips & treatments for dental phobia
So, how can you learn to overcome dental phobia?
Identify your fear
First and foremost, targeting the source of your fear will help to put your mind at rest, and act as a stepping stone towards building confidence the next time you visit the dentist. It could be the fear of gagging during dental treatment or going under local anaesthetic. Once you’ve found the root of the problem, it’s now time to learn how to solve it with the help of friends, family, and speaking to your local dentist, which brings us to our next point.
Find the right dentist
The right dentist makes all the difference. Luckily, there are plenty who specialise in treating nervous patients. Our friendly and professional team are dedicated to making every patient feel comfortable in our practice. Taking a look around the clinic and meeting the receptionists is always helpful, as well as consulting with your dentist about any phobias beforehand.
One step at a time
If you’ve not been able to prioritise your oral care and go to regular check-ups, especially during these unprecedented times, this can affect your confidence massively. Therefore, don’t feel the need to rush into root canal treatment or dental fillings. Instead, book for a routine hygiene appointment then work your way up. Building trust with your dentist is key and you will feel much more secure when it comes to surgical procedures.
A friend in need
You don’t have to go through your fears alone. Bringing a friend or family member along to your next appointment will help ease your nerves and be a welcoming distraction. Most dentists won’t mind if they accompany you, just as long as there is no interference with treatment.
It is perfectly fine if you choose to be sedated. Here at Ten Dental, we offer a number of reliable solutions to allow you to take advantage of the high-quality treatments we provide. Oral sedatives such as Diazepam – typically taken in pill form – can be given in moderation depending on your condition. Intravenous (IV) sedation is also available to produce a relaxing effect, and of course local anaesthetic (LA) helps to numb an area of the body which will quickly pass. We advise that you should avoid performing tasks that require you to be mentally alert after taking any sedative treatment for 24 hours.
Don’t be nervous, be confident
If you are a nervous patient, then speak to our friendly team about your options by clicking here. You can also call 020 3393 2623 or email email@example.com to book a consultation. We can then provide further information on treatment solutions and assess your suitability.