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Fear of Choking

While very few individuals enjoy going to the dentist, a select few develop a fear of this experience that can run deeper and lead to a dental phobia.

In the majority of cases, the telltale sign of this problem can be extremely varied and cause people to act in a number of ways, with a solution near-impossible to find without assistance from a professional.

Why are people afraid of choking?

There are many reasons why a person can develop a phobia of choking. In the more extreme instances, this can be related to a previous trauma linked to abuse of violence, or an experience where it was not possible for them to catch their breath.

Others could have a limited diet, while those with aversions to particular food can have a gag reflex if they taste something they are unfamiliar with.

In other cases, patients may have a hyper-awareness of swallowing saliva – although this is a natural process that the majority of people do instinctively. However, this can make it extremely difficult for people to relax and allow dental treatment to take place.

Similarly, many people suffer from this problem because they have experienced a life-threatening episode of choking on food, despite the fact they may never have had shortness of breath in the dentist’s chair.

This can result in patients becoming acutely aware of the possibility of losing their breath, particularly when gauze or cotton wool has been placed in their mouth.

How does this happen?

Having unfamiliar objects placed in the mouth during a dental check-up can make individuals feel as if they cannot breathe, while also thinking too much saliva can fill the mouth and prevent people from swallowing.

For some individuals, the dental environment can make a phobia even worse and can make individuals react badly to treatment. Furthermore, other aspects – such as how the chair has been positioned – can make some people uncomfortable.

A sense of powerlessness can also make suffering from a phobia even worse, on top of the fact that many patients fell as if they cannot articulate or communicate their feelings – making patients feel highly vulnerable.

What are the symptoms?

As with other forms of dental phobia, many individuals instinctively feel as if they are trying to protect themselves against another serious choking episode, manifesting both psychological and physical symptoms.

Some individuals experience an overwhelming sense of dread at the thought of sitting in the dentists chair, with many accompanied by reactions including the inability to swallow, drink or eat.

For this reason, a select few people feel much worse before getting to the dentist, making it challenging to even undergo a check-up.

The more individuals worry about their next trip to the dentist, the more noticeable the symptoms tend to become, meaning the signs are played increasingly on each person’s mind in the run-up to an appointment.

How can the issue be resolved?

Professionals often argue the solution to managing this type of phobia has three main stages, with the first being to employ relaxation techniques and therapies to help maintain a cool head before a visit.

In addition, working closely alongside a dentist to discuss the problem and decide on some potential solutions is also beneficial.

Furthermore, considering different techniques and products to make each individual feel more comfortable while actually undergoing the treatment is likely to help, but people will usually find some courses of action are better than others.

Finding an individual routine that will help patients relax is also an effective method, this could entail listening to the right genre of music, taking a long walk or hitting the gym to let out some frustration.

Those people who gain a better understanding of their phobia are also more likely to find a solution to their problem, which is something that can be improved by simply talking to a dentist or nurse in detail about their problem.

Overall, there are a number of options available for patients who suffer from a feat of choking, with many finding comfort in the fact their dentist is knowledgeable about the subject itself.

Pearl Dental Clinic is open 7 days a week from 9am to 9pm. You can book an appointment by calling us on 0208 547 9997 or emailing us or booking an appointment online

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