We all have things in life that we are afraid of! From spiders, snakes and other creepy crawlies, through to certain foods, places, and even people, the irrational and excessive fear sparked by phobias can have a huge impact on your daily life. And overcoming your fears is far harder than you might think. One of the most common phobias people develop is dental phobia.
Although visiting the dentist is absolutely nothing to worry about, many people experience severe anxiety when it comes to conquering their fears and their irrational fear can cause some people to avoid the dentist at all costs. This can lead to oral health deteriorating over time until you have a major problem and need to see an emergency dentist.
Obviously avoiding the dentist is hardly ideal, and the chances of you avoiding sugary foods for the rest of your life is completely unrealistic too! But what happens if you can’t overcome your fears?
When does dental phobia begin?
For many people, the fear of visiting the dentist is prompted by experiences in their early years and usually involves some level of pain.
It’s hardly surprising when you think about it, as when you are child you’re far more likely to need fillings or extractions than you do in adulthood. And, because the dentist explains all of the gory details related to the procedure to a parent or guardian, children are often left in the dark when it comes to truly understanding what is about to happen to them.
So, from the very first time a child visits the dentist, they associate it with some level of fear, apprehension, and a lack of understanding.
What happens when you’re older?
As you step into adulthood, it’s highly likely that your memories of the dentist won’t have left your mind, making it difficult to overcome the fears you felt as a child.
After all, in a child’s mind, a dentist can easily become an authoritarian figure who is there to catch you out! Have you been eating too many sweets? Have you been brushing your teeth properly? Did you remember to floss? Another filling? It is these sorts of experiences that invade our adult perceptions.
But what has changed?
The problem is that people who suffer from dental phobia simply do not visit the dentist, which can have a massive impact on the health of their teeth and lead to a whole host of long-term problems.
This means that they often lose sight of just how much dental practices have changed and developed since their childhood. For example, today, dental surgeries are far more customer orientated than ever before. Even for children, the patient experience is much more comfortable, appealing, and easier, especially when it comes to those dreaded drills and needles.
For example, if you haven’t visited a dentist for twenty years or so, you’ll be amazed at how quiet the dental drill is! And it’s the same when it comes to needles. In today’s dental surgeries, it’s very rare to be injected with a blunt needle, as all of the needles used are brand new out of the pack. Dentists tend to be far more careful too and they are far more sympathetic towards patients concerns and well-being.
Admitting that you have dental phobia is the first step to overcoming it. And, by simply letting your dentist know that you are afraid, they will be able to take this into account when treating you.
After all, if you don’t admit to yourself that you have a problem, your dentist won’t be able to help you.