The co-author of this article is Chris M. Matsko, MD. Dr. Matsko is a former doctor from Pennsylvania. He graduated from Temple University Medical School in 2007.
The number of sources used in this article is 11. You will find a list of them at the bottom of the page.
Campaigns to the doctor can be divided into mandatory and optional. The problem is that people far from the healthcare industry have a hard time understanding the difference. Optional techniques burden doctors, which over time can increase the cost of treatment. People usually prescribe because they experience unpleasant symptoms and do not know what caused them or how to cure it. If you lead a healthy lifestyle and monitor your performance at home, optional visits to the doctor can be avoided.
Dentophobia is a fear of dentists. How to overcome fear?
If you are afraid to go to the dentist, if the fear of the dentist’s office leads you to a state of horror, and with one memory of the sound of a drill, you are ready to faint, then it’s possible that you have dentophobia or fear of dentists. And, therefore, this article is written just for you: you will find out why people are afraid of dentists, how to overcome this fear and how to properly tune in to a dentist.
What is detophobia - just fear or illness?
Before visiting the dental office everyone is nervous.
Someone simply experiences mild nervousness and discomfort, and someone is panicky afraid of even the thought of visiting a dentist, and the mention of a drill causes such a person to be hysterical. It is in the latter case that dentophobia takes place (the terms odontophobia and stomatophobia are also synonymous with this concept) or panic fear of a visit to the dentist.
Such a serious pathology should be distinguished from the usual fear of dentists that almost any person experiences in a dentist's chair. It manifests itself in bouts of uncontrolled fear, hysteria up to the loss of consciousness. People suffering from hypertension may experience hypertensive crises or angina attacks. Such patients are usually not in contact, and even the most experienced doctor cannot find a common language with them.
A pronounced fear of dentists - a phobia is not very common. According to statistics, about 5-7% of patients suffer from dentophobia
Most often, people with dentophobia go to the dentist only in advanced cases. For example, when a tooth hurts so much that painkillers do not help, or a destroyed tooth interferes with normal conversation and full eating.
Why am I afraid to go to the dentist or where do the fears come from?
The very first and most important moment that allows you to overcome your fear of dentists is understanding of the cause such a problem. Each of those suffering from dentophobia has its own, but in general, the factors provoking phobia are quite similar.
- Extremely negative previous experience dental treatment. Representatives of the older generation will surely remember the “Soviet standards” for the provision of dental care: a roaring drill, minimal anesthesia (or even its absence), an unpleasant aftertaste in the mouth after arsenic. Moreover, the treatment of one tooth most often took place in several visits, which also did not give patients positive emotions. All this contributed to the development and strengthening of fear of the dentist, and subsequently - the formation of severe phobias.
- At the present stage, dentistry offers patients a huge number of new services, many of which have foreign and obscure names (for example, Opalescence, White light or Zoom). It is this suspense leads to the fact that a person is scared to go to the dentist. Attempts to find information on the Internet can often exacerbate phobia due to negative reviews and comments by “experts” that frighten patients on dental resources.
- Many are afraid to go to the dentist. due to bad teeth. This fear is often fueled by some doctors who criticize the patient’s attitude to their own health. The result is a vicious circle: the worse the condition of the teeth, the more pronounced the phobia.
- Some women are afraid go to the dentist man. This is due to the fact that women are embarrassed to look funny with their mouths wide open. In addition, a visit to the dentist’s office implies a restriction in the use of decorative cosmetics, which also confuses some ladies.
- If the child is afraid to treat teeth, in some cases the cause of this phenomenon should be sought in the behavior of parents. Moms and dads (who sometimes suffer from dentophobia) tell their children that if they behave badly, the doctor will pull or drill their teeth. This is done so that the child sat quietly in line in front of the dentist's office. As a result, babies begin to be afraid of even the simplest and most harmless dental procedures. And to overcome such a fear, inherent in childhood, does not work either a teenager or an adult.
In addition to the reasons listed above, dentophobia can be caused mental illness or low threshold of pain sensitivity. Sometimes a similar problem occurs during pregnancywhen the expectant mother is afraid because the treatment may harm her baby.
How to stop being afraid of a dentist?
How not to be afraid of a dentist? This is a critical issue for a person suffering from dentophobia. It becomes especially acute when it is no longer possible to delay a visit to the dentist.
The advice of a psychologist will tell you how to not be afraid of a dentist and overcome dentophobia forever.
- First of all, need to figure out in what exactly are you afraid of. To do this, you can create a table that will help determine the type of fear. In the first column, you must enter a possible variant of the phobia, and put a figure from 1 to 4 in front of each item, where the four will correspond to the concept of “insanely afraid”, the three will correspond to “very afraid”, the two will correspond to moderate fear, and the unit will not “ I'm absolutely afraid. ” For example:
|Fear option||Fear Level 1 to 4|
|I'm afraid to remove the tooth||4|
|I'm afraid to drill my teeth||3|
|I'm afraid of an injection at the dentist||2|
|I'm afraid to remove the nerve from the tooth||2|
|I'm afraid of anesthesia||1|
|I'm afraid to pull out a wisdom tooth||4|
|I'm afraid to have a dental implant||2|
|I'm afraid to remove a tooth with a cyst||4|
|I'm afraid to remove tartar||1|
|I'm afraid to treat front teeth||2|
It is necessary to conduct such a test in a calm environment, honestly writing out all your fears. The second step follows analyze the resulting list and try to figure out what exactly scares you in each particular case and what could cause this phenomenon.
- I'm afraid to pull out a tooth because I'm afraid of pain. Once I had a tooth removed without anesthesia, and it was very painful.
- I am afraid to remove tartar, because I am ashamed because I really started to brush my teeth. Last time, the dentist read me notations for a long time and reproached me that I did not monitor my health at all.
- I’m afraid when they drill their teeth, because I don’t like the sound of a working drill. In childhood, parents always scared me with her.
Often, such a simple technique is enough to get rid of the fear of a dentist. If it’s impossible to deal with the problem yourself, then you can visit the doctor with this list who is planning to undergo treatment and get advice on your fears and their reality.
Often overcoming the fear of dentists helps preliminary consultation with the dentist. Most clinics offer their patients the opportunity to talk with a surgeon or therapist, at an appointment which discusses existing dental problems and discusses ways to resolve them. The doctor can ask all questions of interest, as well as ask for clarification regarding all diagnostic and therapeutic measures. Anesthesia is also discussed, as well as possible alternative therapeutic modalities. A trusting relationship with a doctor largely determines success in the fight against dentophobia. If the patient trusts the attending physician, then he will more quickly relax in the dental chair and ceases to feel fear.
Do not delay visit to the dental office. Over time, fear may not become less, but the condition of the teeth will be much worse.
Before you see a doctor, try have a good rest and sleep. The night before, you can take glycine or use folk remedies with a sedative effect (infusion of valerian or motherwort). Before planning a visit to the dentist, do not plan any important events that may become additional stress.
How to overcome fear of a dentist - a view from the other side
Dentophobia is not only a problem for patients. This phenomenon also applies to doctors who must decide what to do with a person who needs to undergo some kind of medical manipulation (for example, remove a nerve or pull out a decayed tooth), but he is afraid to sit in a dental chair to death.
A good surgeon, therapist or dental technician will first conduct a conversation with the patient to find out the level of his fear, and also listen to what specifically worries the person and what his phobias are connected with. He will explain in detail what this or that procedure is called and what its essence is.
In general, modern dentistry is aimed at minimizing stress in people when visiting a dental office. To do this, they widely use:
- Background from light classical music or natural noises that contribute to relaxation and soothing.
- Some clinics are equipped with video glasses, thanks to which the patient can be distracted by the time of the dentist’s viewing of an interesting film.
- In special cases, dental treatment under anesthesia is used.
Cases of severe dentophobia are corrected by a psychotherapist using various therapeutic techniques.
Dentophobia in children
In childhood, dentophobia is much more common than in adults. This is due to the lability of children's emotions, the lack of previous experience with visits to the dentist. This phobia is especially difficult for babies aged 2 to 5 years, because at this age children are still not able to control their emotions and actions, they are poorly accessible to the contact and can not fully tell about their feelings and fears.
In most cases, children's dentophobia is caused by the first unsuccessful trip to the dentist.
Children's dentophobia has the same reasons as the adult version of fear:
- fear of the unknown
- fear of pain
- negative previous experience visiting not only a dentist, but also a doctor of another specialization,
- improper parental behavior.
How to rid a child of fear?
If the child is afraid of the dentist, then most likely the reason will be in an unpleasant first contact with the doctor of this specialty. It is the first visit to the dentist that will form in a small person his further attitude to dentistry.
Overcoming dentophobia will contribute to:
- Maximum doctor contact with a young patient. The child’s level of fear will significantly decrease if a small excursion is carried out before treatment, during which you can show the office, talk about tools, show pictures about teeth and their treatment.
- Application of anesthesia in the treatment of teeth.
- Using modern silent therapeutic techniques. The absence of unpleasant sensations, the sound of a drill, as well as the short duration of the procedures are the main enemies of children's fear.
- Using multimedia devicesthanks to which a small patient can listen to pleasant music, an audio fairy tale or watch a favorite cartoon and escape from the treatment procedure itself and the negative emotions associated with it.
- Proper parental behavior. If mom or dad in front of the dentist’s office feel nervousness and anxiety, then this feeling is transmitted to the child, and he instinctively begins to be afraid. Sometimes phobia can be enhanced by the innocuous at first glance phrases “don't be afraid”, “it won’t hurt”, “it’s not scary”, which are pronounced with the purpose of calming and which may have the opposite effect. Parental behavior should be natural in front of the dentist’s office, and it’s best not to make a big event out of the visit. This is necessary so that a child from childhood feels that caring for the health of his teeth is a common thing.
Fortunately, most babies adapt quickly and stop being afraid. With the correct behavior of the doctor and parents for girls and boys of young age, treating milk teeth, and subsequently molars, will be an interesting and exciting adventure.
Interesting facts about the terrible
Are you afraid to treat your teeth? If so, then we have specially gathered for you the most common fears related to dentistry, as well as facts that allow you to overcome them.
- I'm afraid to treat my teeth during pregnancy - it can harm the baby. This is one of the most dangerous fears, because any rotten tooth, even if it does not hurt, is a source of chronic infection, which can easily penetrate a child and cause serious congenital health problems. In the ideal case, teeth should be treated even at the stage of pregravid preparation, but if the woman is already pregnant and she needs dental treatment, then it is absolutely impossible to refuse it. Modern dentistry has tools and materials that are absolutely safe for both the health of the mother and the baby.
- I'm afraid of pain at the dentist, but I'm even more afraid of treating my teeth with an injection - what if he himself will be painful or will not work. This fear originates from times when anesthesia was extremely imperfect. Previously, the usual Novocaine or Lidocaine were used for pain relief, which required a sufficiently large dosage, did not act immediately, and the duration of their effect was very short. Modern drugs, such as Articaine (as part of Ultracaine, Ubestesin, Septanest) and Mepivacaine (included in the Scandonest drug) require minimal dosages for treatment, have high efficiency and long-lasting effect. In addition, they are safe and can be used in people with various pathologies of the cardiovascular system, and even in children or pregnant women.
- I'm afraid to remove the nerve from the tooth, and it hurts. Ignoring the symptoms of pulpitis can lead to serious consequences, up to the loss of a tooth. Depilation or removal of the dental nerve is one of the stages of the treatment of such a pathology. Until recently, such a procedure was stretched for several days and was extremely painful: the doctor opened the tooth canals and the cavity of the root of the tooth, put arsenic in them, put a temporary filling and released the patient until the next visit. In 2-3 days, the tooth nerve was supposed to die, and this process was often accompanied by excruciating pains that could not be removed even with strong painkillers. Today, such a procedure is not necessary. Modern local anesthetics allow you to remove the nerve within 30 minutes and without the slightest discomfort.
- I want to whiten my teeth, but I'm afraid that the whitening procedure is unsafe for enamel. Fear of treating tooth darkening with Air flow, Opalescence, White Light or Zoom methods has appeared among the population not very long ago. Many people want to give their teeth a white shade, but are afraid that chemically active substances will affect their teeth. Modern whitening technologies are safe when the procedure is carried out correctly. In order to get a guaranteed positive result, you should choose a clinic with extensive experience that has modern equipment, certified supplies and only positive feedback from real customers.
- It is necessary to treat caries, but I'm afraid to drill my teeth. The preparation or drilling of teeth using a noisy drill is one of the horrors of Soviet dentistry, which many remember. And it is precisely because of this sound that many delay a visit to the dentist. But modern clinics can offer alternative options: chemical and ultrasonic preparation of teeth. Such techniques are absolutely silent, do not cause unpleasant or painful sensations. They are also effective and allow the doctor to fully clean the carious cavities and fill in the defects of the dental tissue.
- The doctor insists on prosthetics of the front tooth with a dental implant, and I am afraid of such a procedure. Dental implantation or implantation of artificial dental root into the bone tissue is one of the most modern procedures that allow you to restore lost teeth. Implants have high aesthetics, they are durable (they will not have to be replaced every 5-10 years) and fill the dentition as fully as possible. Implantation technologies are developed very accurately and operations are always carried out after computer simulation - i.e. подход к каждому пациенту всегда индивидуален. Кроме того, вживление импланта проводится только под анестезией и после процесса приживления он совершенно не чувствуется.
Как видно из статьи, боязнь стоматологов — очень распространенное явление, с которым можно и нужно бороться. The main thing is not to let everything go by chance and not to forget that keeping your teeth healthy is much easier if you regularly visit a dentist and follow all his recommendations.