For many people, a text message reminder that they need to attend their biannual dental check-up can cause a feeling of irritation, as they may need to book the appointment around work, family, or other commitments. However, for a significant number of dental patients, this reminder induces a feeling of panic and helplessness. Which is known as a dental aversion or dental phobia.
This is exceedingly common with as many as 1 in 6 dental patients reporting that they have concerns about attending a dental check-up. This is usually due to fear of judgement or negative associations with dental teams. However, dental practitioners are not blind to this issue and can offer treatments to help you relax when you visit your dentist Sydney CBD.
In the following short guide, dental phobias will be introduced and explored, allowing you to see the options available to you if you suffer from this common phobia.
What is a dental phobia?
The aptly named dentophobia is one of the most common in the world and, as mentioned before, it is experienced by as many as 1 in 6 dental patients. It is usually caused by a negative experience in childhood relating to dental practitioners or dental treatments overall. And as a result, the concerns and anxieties have formed as part of a self-defence mechanism. This serves the purpose relating to ‘keeping you safe from harm’ psychologically, but it can have extreme secondary complications.
Symptoms of dental aversion
The symptoms of dental aversion can range from mild to severe. In mild cases, a patient may be able to attend their dental surgery and undertake a check-up, but may experience feelings of anxiety such as a faster heart rate and sweating. In the more extreme examples, a patient may not be able to even walk past a dental surgery without feeling fear and sweating. For these patients, it can be nearly impossible to even attend a dental check-up, and so many surgeries can offer more targeted approaches to ease these patients’ anxieties. Unfortunately, a physical symptom of dental aversion is usually teeth that are in poor condition, simply due to not attending check-ups and therefore not getting the required treatment. Many people who suffer from dental phobias often have extensive decay, gum disease and may even have missing teeth.
How dental teams can help
Dental teams are aiming to help patients who have dental phobias get back into their surgeries to improve their oral and general health. Your local clinic may be able to offer you intravenous sedation or nitrous oxide if you are exceedingly concerned about treatment. For those who have more mild cases of dental aversion, simply meeting with the team before the appointment to discuss your phobia may be enough to ease your worries. For others, your dental team may be able to offer you music to listen to via a headset or even a television to watch whilst they work on your teeth.
As mentioned before, most people have dental phobias due to a poor experience with a dental team early in their life. If you feel that at this time you simply cannot attend a dental practice, it may be worth seeking psychological treatment to help you overcome this phobia.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.