Many people suffer from dentophobia, or fear of going to the dentist. While mild anxiety is common, those who experience a sense of dread about receiving dental care may forgo treatments, and that can lead to serious oral health issues if problems go untreated.
There are numerous reasons why a person may suffer from dentophobia, but learning why you may have anxiety about visiting the dentist can help you overcome your fear. To help you on this journey, here are some details about the psychology behind those feelings.
Negative Prior Experience
If you had a less than pleasant experience with a dentist in the past, it can lead you to assume that any visits in the future would be similar. However, a single bad appointment doesn’t mean you’ll go through that again the next time around.
For patients suffering from this form of anxiety, the best course of action is to find an Uptown Dallas dentist who is compassionate about your concerns and is willing to go the extra mile to ensure that you are comfortable.
Over time, your positive experiences will begin to outweigh your negative ones, helping your fears to subside naturally.
Anxiety About Specific Stimuli
In some cases, patients aren’t fearful of the dentist entirely. Instead, there are specific aspects of treatment that increase their stress levels to the point of being difficult to manage. For example, many people are uncomfortable with needles or the idea of a dentist using a drill. Those who suffer from misophonia, a condition where certain sounds are hard to bear, might be fine with the treatment but have trouble tolerating the associated noises that occur when various forms of equipment are in use.
Often, the easiest way to address these issues is to find a dentist that you trust and speak with them about your concerns before treatment begins. This gives them an opportunity to provide options that may help you feel more comfortable or recommend things you can do to ease your anxiety. For example, some patients may benefit from using headphones to listen to music, giving them a way to block out unpleasant sounds. Others may appreciate having a stress ball available, creating a method for them to release some of the physical tension.
In situations where simple options aren’t sufficient, then there may be alternatives. Enteral conscious sedation, the technical term behind “sedation dentistry,” may help a patient feel more comfortable. During these treatments, the dentist provides oral medication to help you achieve a more relaxed state while ensuring you remain in full control of your faculties.
If you have skipped dental treatments due to your dentophobia, now is the ideal time to speak with an Uptown Dallas dentist who understands your concerns and will work with you to help overcome your fear. That way, you can achieve optimal oral health as comfortably as possible.