It is estimated that over 75% of people experience anxiety when visiting the dentist. Of this percentage, 5-10% have a fear of teeth that is severe enough to be classified as dentophobia. These individuals are so terrified of the dentist that they avoid going, which is detrimental to their health.
Those with dental phobia need to understand what it is and how to overcome it.
Causes of Dentophobia
The concept of dental phobia can be classified using a wide range of terms. It may also be called dentophobia, odontophobia, dental anxiety, or fear of teeth. They all refer to the same thing: a severe phobia of getting dental care.
If a person has had negative experiences with physicians, they may have a phobia of teeth. Some people’s fear can be triggered by seeing any doctor, smelling hospital odors, or people who appear to be in positions of authority.
How to Deal with Dentophobia
The following coping strategies may be helpful for patients who experience dentophobia.
- Breathing Techniques
Patients can use breathing techniques or medications to slow their heart rate and control breathing before seeing the dentist. They can experiment with several breathing techniques to discover the one that works for them, then use it as a check-in during the visit.
- Beneficial Diversions
The dentist’s office’s sights, sounds, and smells can cause discomfort and anxiety to the patient. When visiting a dentist, you can use headphones to direct your attention to music, TV, or podcasts. Similarly, you can use a face mask to block smells from the dental clinic. Most dental offices have these amenities but bringing headphones or other things will help you feel more comfortable.
- Establish Break Signals
When things get overwhelming, patients who need a break can produce hand signals by waving their hands, pointing a finger, or tapping their shoulders. Nonverbal cues are helpful for those who have dentophobia because they can help them overcome stressful situations.
- Attend Classes on Anxiety Coping
An extended course of treatment may be necessary for severe dentophobia. A dental professional or general physician may recommend taking classes to manage anxiety and phobias. These anxiety classes teach students to deal with problems and recognize warning signs of impending trouble. Patients with anxiety symptoms will benefit most from these lessons.
- Take Anti-Anxiety Medication to Relax Your Nerves
As stated earlier, if your nervousness causes you to shake or makes you unable to sit still during the session, you can try prescription medication. Confirm that any anti-anxiety medicine you are already taking will not interfere with any other drug administered during surgery. Undoubtfully, there are ways in which a patient can fight dentophobia on their own. You can reduce anxiety by doing adequate research before choosing a dentist. If the patient trusts the dentist they choose, visiting the dentist’s office will be less difficult for them.
The above methods can help a person suffering from dentophobia. Following these strategies will make it easier to stay optimistic about the outcome of the appointment.