It is very common and okay to feel anxious while visiting a dentist, but if a person is irrationally or extremely afraid of going to the dentist in general, there may be a problem. Dentophobia refers to the fear of dentists and may even leave people paralyzed for a moment. “Dentophobia is common among all age groups and is often associated with other phobias such as agoraphobia (fear of being in a situation where you cannot escape), trypanophobia (fear of needles) and iatrophobia (fear of doctors). Dentophobia is very common and affects approximately 75 percent of the adult global population,” says Dr Binita Priyambada, senior consultant, medical team at Dr Binita Priyambada, reports The Indian Express.Types of Dentophobi
Different elements may be responsible for causing dentophobia. Some people may fear all the elements simultaneously while others may just fear one or two. These elements include:
1. Needles: People often fear needles and sharp objects. Seeing needles and drills at the dentist’s clinic may increase the fear of a dentist.
2. Numbness: People may fear being numb because they might think that it would make it difficult for them to breathe or swallow. The fear may be so strong that they would simply avoid getting the dental procedure done.
3. Sounds: Every time a doctor picks up an instrument or switches on a tool, its sound may make a person feel nauseous and increase the fear manifold. This may also happen if a person has had previous bad experiences at a dental clinic.
4. Pain: Even though the most complex dental procedures can be performed painlessly, there are some dental procedures that may cause discomfort as the anesthesia fades away. The fear of bearing the pain may increase the fear of dentist and dental procedures.Symptoms of Dentophobia
“People suffering from dentophobia may avoid going to a dentist even when they have a serious dental issue that requires medical attention. This negligence may lead to severe dental complications. People suffering from dentophobia may often feel nauseated and sweaty due to the fear of dental procedures. They may also have a full-blown panic attack during their visit to a dentist,” adds Dr Priyambada.
Treating and overcoming Dentophobia
The best way to overcome dentophobia is to communicate it to the dentist so that he/she can be more considerate towards your condition. In some cases, patients might be administered mild anaesthesia or sedative to relax the patient prior to dental treatment. Taking help from a therapist can be another way of dealing with the situation.
Consequences of Dentophobia
At first, dentophobia might not appear as a matter of great concern. “However, it should be noted that patients with dentophobia tend to avoid regular dental check-ups. This may ultimately lead to degradation of oral health. Since it is best not to take a chance with dental health, patients with dentophobia should stop escaping from appointments with dentists and should take a step closer to wave goodbye to the fear,” she tells indianexpress.com.