One of the many consequences of living with a dental phobia is that many people attempt to carry out procedures on their teeth and gums in a bid to avoid sitting in the dreaded dentist’s chair.
Because those suffering from this issue are unable to face attending regular appointments, they try to solve issues themselves, which can often have disastrous results and will usually result in them needing professional help urgently.
For the majority of people, the thought of carrying out painful treatment on their own teeth is unbearable as an alternative to seeking assistance from a trained dentist, however – for those with a phobia – the thought process is exactly the opposite.
In many cases, the fear is so irrational they do not realise how failing to seek the appropriate care will only make matters much worse.
Research carried out by consumer watchdog Which? revealed around three million people have attempted to carry out this type of procedure, while the same number know someone else that has.
In addition, of those individuals who had tried to do this themselves, 26 per cent extracted one of their own teeth with pliers, while another 12 per cent tried the same thing using a piece of string tied to a door handle.
Furthermore, some 30 per cent confessed to attempting to whiten their teeth with household cleaning products in a bid to achieve a brighter-than-bright celebrity smile.
While many attempt DIY dentistry as a result of the significant cost of some procedures, others do so because they are afraid of visiting the dentist, with many of these ashamed of admitting they have a problem.
Although it is advised individuals do not attempt to carry out procedures on their teeth and gums without a professional, having a dental first aid kit at their disposal could help if they were to suffer a blow to the face or sustain an injury.
These packs usually contain items such as a safe glue mixture that can be used to hold a dislodged crown or filling in place, as well as cotton balls, antiseptic and other items.
Many dentists argue the real issue with these kits is that they encourage individuals to avoid getting the appropriate level of treatment they require. If used in the correct way, the tools can be an effective way of looking after teeth, but it is important for people to remember this is only a temporary measure.
In many cases, the main problem for individuals suffering from a dental phobia is seeking follow-up treatment, which means more time in the dentist’s chair.
One of the main reasons patients should not carry out DIY dentistry is because, without the expertise of a professional, it is impossible to determine the level of treatment that is required.
For example, having a filling or crown replaced is not considered an emergency procedure by dentists and, while it can be painful, the issue can usually be resolved using the ingredients of a dental repair kit.
However, either of these installations can loosen because decay had formed in the pearly white beneath it, which can also cause high levels of discomfort and the temporary solution will do nothing to resolve this underlying problem.
While DIY dentistry may sound like a viable option for individuals who are afraid of going to the dentist, this is certainly a myth. Conducting treatments without assistance from a professional can be treated as a temporary measure, but could result in a vicious circle where oral health may deteriorate.
The growing trend for this course of action suggests an increasing number of people are willing to put their health at risk to avoid going to the dentist. It is important for individuals to realise it is vital to seek proper treatment, while this could also be surprisingly hassle-free.
Patients who are brave enough to take action to combat their fear should explain how they feel with their dentist before booking an appointment, as this could see them arranging an initial meeting to discuss the condition.
During this time, individuals can explain their requirements and find out whether their practitioner has the relevant expertise in treating similar people. Although this may not work for everyone, it is certainly a step in the right direction.