For some people, the fear of going to the dentist is far worse than the pain of a toothache. However, this fear can lead to greater oral health problems and longer, more complicated procedures. Being afraid is not the way to go.
Most adults who suffer from dental anxiety can trace their fears back to unpleasant childhood experiences. Maybe their first visit to the dentist was because of pain caused by a rotten tooth. The removal of the rotten tooth was probably an experience that made them reluctant and fearful to go to a dentist again. Some will come right out and say that they don’t like needles or that they don’t like the sound of the dental drill.
These concerns should not be ignored and should be addressed by the dentist. Whether you are fearful or not, every individual should be made to feel as comfortable as possible before any dental treatment.
For those of you who are afraid of going to the dentist here are some possible explanations:
· Dental anxiety is a reaction to an unknown danger. Anxiety is extremely common, and most people experience some degree of dental anxiety especially if they are about to have something done which they’ve never experienced before.
· Dental fear is a reaction to a known danger – “I know what the dentist is going to do, been there, done that – I’m scared!!”
· Dental phobia is basically the same as fear, only much stronger – “I know what happens when I go to the dentist – there’s no way I’m going back if I can help it”. Someone with a dental phobia will avoid dental care at all costs until the problem become too much to bear.
Some of the most common causes of dental phobia are:
· Bad experiences at a dental office or with a dentist during treatment.
· Uncaring dentist – the pain caused by a dentist who is seen as cold and controlling is more likely to create a bad experience than a dentist who is seen as being caring.
· Humiliation – insensitive, humiliating or embarrassing remarks by a dentist or a dental worker can help to cause dental phobias.
· Vicarious learning – listening to what others say about their experience at the dentist can sometimes affect how you see dentists. People are more likely talk about the bad experiences they had at the dentist instead of the good ones. If a parent or other caregiver is afraid of dentists, children may pick up on this and learn to be afraid as well, even if the children themselves never had a bad experience.
Anyone can be affected by dental phobia – it doesn’t matter if you are young or old, a man or a woman, or rich or poor. Dental phobias can have a lot of effects on a person’s life, and can cause anxiety and depression. Because of embarrassment over your teeth, you might avoid smiling, laughing too hard, meeting people even those who are close friends, or avoid jobs which involve contact with the public.
Loss of self-esteem and intense feelings of guilt over not having looked after one’s teeth properly are also very common. People who suffer from dental phobia also sometimes avoid going to a medical doctor because they are afraid that the doctor might want to look into their mouth during an examination.
If you suffer from dental phobia, you may think that nobody else feels the way you do. Actually, quite a lot of people do! Research has suggested that quite a number of persons do not go to the dentist because of fear and many more than that have some form of anxiety about dentistry. But, all is not lost – improvements in techniques, medications, and equipment mean that even the most fearful patients can be assured that their visits now will be more comfortable.
Today’s dentistry can be pain-free and there are many personable, kind and compassionate dental professionals around. Most people who have suffered from dental fears and phobias say that having found the right dentist for them has made all the difference. This is especially true when fears were caused by previous bad experiences.
It is recommended that young children be exposed to dental check-ups at an early age so as to avoid their first encounter with a dentist being a painful one.
If shame, embarrassment and guilt are keeping you away from seeing a dentist, you’ve got plenty of company. However, it’s likely that most dentists have seen teeth that are as bad as or worse than yours, and dentists should not make patients embarrassed or uncomfortable about the condition of their teeth.
That may have been common years ago, but is not nearly as prevalent today. If you are worried about how a dentist will react to the condition of your mouth, try to remember that a dentist has seen everything from black and broken teeth, to no teeth at all.
Your teeth shouldn’t shock your dentist. Dentists are trained to help people who are experiencing problems with their teeth and gums – it’s our job to fix these problems and offer preventive treatment where possible.
For more information contact OMNI DENTAL on Tel: 227-0025, 260-3133 or send comments to [email protected]
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