It’s not uncommon to be concerned about going to the dentist, in fact statistics suggest that the number of people with some degree of dental phobia could constitute almost twenty-five percent of the UK population. Whether the problem is the cost, waiting times, or just good old-fashioned fear, it seems there are plenty of us who avoid going whenever we can. An unfortunate side effect of this problem is that the longer you leave it, the harder it becomes to get over that phobia. If you know how to look after your teeth and you don’t have any dental problems, this won’t affect you as much, but if you happen to fall into that twenty-five percent and you don’t have a great record of oral hygiene, then you could be looking at some serious escalating problems.
There can’t be many people who actually like going to the dentist, but we all have to do it occasionally. It’s when that dislike turns into outright fear or an acute phobia that something needs to be done. At the Pearl Dental Clinic the staff see this sort of reaction in dental phobic patients on a regular basis, the helpful, friendly team members are happy to talk to patients about their fears and to reassure them that they are in safe hands. They find that the issue most people face is fear of the unknown; if you’ve never visited the dentist before or you’ve never undergone a certain type of procedure, it’s human nature to be wary or even fearful of what might be to come.
What’s the difference between dental fear and dental phobia?
The difference is simply severity; dental fear is a less advanced stage of dental phobia. A person with dental fear may have had a negative experience with a dentist in the past, which has put them off attending appointments. This could go as far back as childhood, to a perceived trauma that might have been blown out of proportion, or it could just be a reaction to pain. Again, it’s part of the human psyche that tells us to stay away from things that cause us physical discomfort, so if a tooth extraction was painful or traumatic, it makes sense that the brain is saying ‘no thank you, never again’. Dental phobia is a more severe form of dental fear, often resulting from a bad experience in the past. If left untreated, phobias at this stage can have an extremely negative effect on the person’s life, leading to social insecurities, loss of confidence, and other psychological problems.
What can I do if I have a phobia of the dentist?
The best thing you can do with issues like this is to face them head on, it’s not going to go away just because you ignore it – if you have dental problems that have to be dealt with immediately, you might not have much choice. A lot of people who suffer from this phobia tend to have built it up in their heads over time, making it almost impossible for them to just overlook it. This is where an understanding dentist comes in; ask around to see if anyone you know can recommend a good surgeon – or one who frequently works with nervous patients, it might even help to inquire about sedation services, as some surgeries do offer them if patients are particularly anxious.
Once you’ve found a reliable dentist, you can discuss your worries with them and they will try to understand where your fear is coming from, in order to come up with the best way of dealing with it. Chances are, your dentist will be used to handling nervous patients and will know exactly how to make you feel at ease.
What services are available for dental phobic patients?
For dental phobic patients we offer Intra-venous sedation at pearl dental clinic. IV sedation is a deep conscious sedation which allows dentistry to be carried out completely painlessly and without any anxiety or panic attacks.
For the severely dental phobic or housebound patients who cant leave their own homes, we provide a home visit dentistry service, where our dentists visit those patients in their own homes and provide basic dental care there.