It is extremely common for individuals to experience some worry or anxiety over trips to the dentist, but they will more often than not argue that this is absolutely necessary for maintaining their overall oral health.
In fact, when an appointment is over with, the majority of people often wonder what they were so afraid of in the first place.
However, for some people the issues run deeper than a simple case of anxiety and can form a phobia. Those who do develop a serious fear of the dentist may find their symptoms are many and varied.
While nobody enjoys feelings of discomfort, some people will go to great lengths to avoid it and may find themselves taking increased precautions or failing to undergo adequate treatment for their ailments due to their worry.
In the case of dentistry, this unreasonable fear is likely to derive from an unpleasant experience, perhaps in early life. For example, those individuals who had a number of fillings or underwent orthodontic treatment during childhood may develop anxiety due to the pain they experienced.
Unfortunately, members of the public who have a phobia often find themselves in a situation where they have serious oral health issues, but do not take the appropriate course of action.
Although almost everybody would prefer not to endure any pain, the majority of people who display the symptoms of serious fear are more worried about the idea of the discomfort, rather than the feeling itself. This becomes even harder for some to understand as sufferers can develop extremely painful issues due to a lack of care.
Technological advancements in the world of dentistry have resulted in a complete change in the way particular procedures are carried out, while members of staff are now given special training for dealing with individuals with particular needs or worries.
While this could be reassuring for many, the longer they leave it before booking an appointment with their dentist, the worse their existing oral health issues are likely to get. This could see the development of a number of problems, including: impacted wisdom teeth, chipped or cracked pearly whites and missing fillings.
Long periods without any guidance from a professional not only increases the chances of contracting a number of conditions, it also leaves people to continue with poor habits without seeking ongoing advice, proactive ideas and preventative care that experts can offer.
This could also help future visits to the dentist go more smoothly and be pain-free.
While the signs of a phobia can be different between patients, some may find they experience a shortness of breath. In some instances, individuals have a tightness in their chest, as well as sudden bursts of anxiety.
The thought of going through this while sat in the dentist’s chair can act as an additional factor in the phobia and heighten the sense of fear.
Although the prospect of these symptoms is extremely daunting, patients should make attempts to relax, as they are usually a natural response by the body. This is due to the brain’s advanced warning to other areas that pain is coming.
The problem is that the warning from the brain – as well as the subsequent response – are disproportionate to the threat in question.
One of the main challenges faced by the dental community is ensuring that new and improved procedures are accessible and easy for people to understand. As more products emerge onto the market, it could become the norm for patients to become confused, apprehensive and nervous about what they are being offered.
However, professionals working in this industry are dedicated to assisting those with special needs feel comfortable in their dental practice with the use of improved communication that could put them at ease.
It is vital for patients to gain a clearer understanding of the type of treatment and level of care they can expect when visiting a surgery, as therapy revolving around the issue concerns the fear of pain as much as the feeling itself.
They need to find a dental environment where they are relaxed, comfortable and as cared for as possible, which could include factors such as the atmosphere in the reception and waiting room, as well as the manner and skills of the dentist.
Individuals will usually find the phobia begins to subside when they have actually visited the clinic and spoken to their administrator, as some professionals have years of experience in treating this condition.
There are a number of other techniques also available including sedation and distraction techniques that can help those with more acute phobias.
Once the patient has an understanding of what is causing their anxiety and how they can overcome it, the cycle of fear can usually be escaped. It is usually the case that a patient who is riddled with fear will become so uptight they jump at even the slightest touch, while they become more sensitive to discomfort so it feels much worse.
Similarly, the people who are less afraid of feeling pain are more relaxed when seeing the dentist, which means they are unlikely to react with anxiety to their medical treatment.