Why do some people fear the dentist so much?
Dentistry has changed drastically over the past 60 years and the techniques and treatments provided are far superior to what they may have been some time ago. Many years ago treatments were performed without the use of local anaesthetics and in some cases just gas used which made the majority of people feel unwell, however now procedures undertaken by your dentist ensures the correct anaesthesia is given to make your experience much more pleasant.
In some cases embarrassment or feeling ashamed can lead to people feeling anxious about coming to the dentist. The feeling of a stranger looking into your mouth, that you feel ashamed of can make people anxious.
Unfortunately, these fears can then be passed onto spouses and even worse children that may not have had bad experiences but feel fear from their parents or grandparents, which can have long lasting detrimental effects.
Why is it so important to go to the dentist?
Having a good oral health is extremely important to prevent dental diseases such a decay and gum disease. There are significant links between dental diseases and systemic diseases such as diabetes and heart conditions so it’s important be screened on a regular basis to prevent or monitor ones oral cavity. People with a fear are more likely to suffer with these diseases through lack of maintenance.
Most people are not aware that your dentist and hygienist also screen for oral pathology, with the most important being for Oral cancers. This type of cancer is on the rise due to many different reasons such as lifestyle choices ie. Smoking and drinking, your diet and in some cases your oral hygiene ie. Broken teeth causing persistent wounds and ulcers, can increase your chances of oral cancer. Quite often most people will not be aware that they have oral cancer until it is picked up by a dental professional so it is vital to be screened on a regular basis.
Overcoming Dental Phobias
Just coming into the practice and making your appointment is the first step to overcoming your fear, it may give you relief that your teeth will finally be screened for any oral diseases. Communicating with your dentist or hygienist is crucial so that they can tailor your appointment to make it as comfortable and relaxed as possible which can make you feel at ease.
Practicing breathing techniques can be really beneficial not only whilst dental treatment is being performed but it also relaxes your body and allows one to place focus on breathing as opposed to the work being carried out. Other relaxation techniques can be listening to music whilst having treatment via headphones or even asking for your favourite radio station to be played whilst in the chair.
If someone has a severe Dental phobia then there are in some cases options to be sedated for more involved treatments, although this option doesn’t necessarily deal with ones fear it at least gives the opportunity for treatment to be performed.