Dental fear, also known as dentophobia or odontophobia is the fear of dentistry and of receiving dental treatments. The fear can be excessive or unreasonable and can cause the patients to avoid any kind of dental treatments. The phobia can be caused by previous painful or even traumatic dental experiences. There are various degrees of dental phobia, and while most people suffer from mild degrees of fear, it is best to seek professional help for treating severe cases of dental fear.
Causes of dental phobia
Although the event that causes the fear can be different, most patients who experience some form of dental fear
can trace back the onset of the problem to a particular unpleasant experience. Traumatic experiences, that usually occurred during childhood, can have a long lasting impact on the adult and can manifest in the refusal to receive dental treatments except in severe cases that require dental removals
can be induced through direct experiences or through indirect experiences, like vicarious learning, when the person becomes fearful after learning about another person's unpleasant experiences. Other causes may include the feeling of helplessness or lack of control when siting in the dental chair
, the fear of being embarrassed about the state of the dental hygiene
are as unique as the patient and although all of us may experience some form of mild anxiety when going to the dentist, people who suffer from severe dental phobias
can treat this affection and start treating any existing and ignored dental problems, like tooth decay
Treatments for dental phobia
The most common solution for individuals who suffer from fear of all that involves dentists and dental procedures is seeking professional help. An appointment with a psychologist or therapist can help uncover the underlying cause, the traumatic experience that lead to the inoculation of the fear. Afterwards, the patient can start treating the dentophobia through methods like group therapy. By sharing their traumatic experience with others, individuals can begin to realize that they are not alone and that their fear is treatable.
Thanks to the new technologies available in the field of dentistry, dental treatments are becoming less painful. Patients can ask the dentist to use local anesthesia
and complicated surgical procedures
can become at most only a bad dream with the help of general anesthesia.