Ondontophobia. Dentophobia. Dentist Phobia. All of these things boil down to one issue: the fear or anxiety someone feels regarding dentistry.
Fact: Women tend to report more dental fear than men.
Fact: People tend to report being more fearful of more invasive procedures, such as oral surgery, than they are of less invasive treatment, such as professional dental cleanings. (Wikipedia)
How Does it Develop?
Like most other things that people fear or have phobias with, dental phobia usually arises after a person experiences some sort of trauma during a dentist visit. More often than not, this fear is associated with hearing about other people’s traumatic experiences with the dentist. And perhaps not unsurprisingly, dental phobia is very real, affecting millions of people each year which has led to it being one of the top fears resonating among the population today.
So, What are Dentists Doing About It?
According to Wikipedia, there are two ways in which most dentists “treat” individuals who have a fear of the dentist. The first is by using behavioral treatments. Behavioral treatments include any of the following:
- Relaxation Techniques (deep breathing, relaxing the muscles)
- Cognitive Techniques (guided imagery, thinking relaxing thoughts)
- Systematic Desensitization (gradual exposure- aka: gradually introducing the objects feared)
The other way that dentists handle individuals who are fearful is through pharmacological techniques. Some examples of these include the following:
- Mild Sedation to General Anesthesia
- Oxide (aka: laughing gas)
- Oral Sedatives (ie. benzodiazepines such as Xanax, Valium and Halcion)
If you find yourself among those who have a fear of going to the dentist, do yourself a favor and contact your dentist! Talk to him or her about it, and find out what the best solution is going to be for you. After speaking with your dentist, you’ll typically find that it’s not so bad after all.