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Visiting the dentist is usually near the bottom of the list of favourite pastimes among individuals of all ages, with many fearing everything from the look of the chair to the taste of the professional’s gloves.
Although hardly anyone enjoys this six-monthly appointment, the thought of maintaining healthy teeth and gums well into later life is something that drives people to carry out this arduous task.
However, for a select few, the negative connotations of booking a visit to their local practice results in them avoiding medical treatment altogether, with a few experiencing serious issues thanks to this.
When an individual develops a phobia, it may be difficult for them to think about the benefits of professional treatment rationally, considering only the pain and discomfort that may be caused as soon as they sit down in that dreaded chair.
For some patients, it can simply be the word “drill” that causes them to fill with dread, particularly because of the work such a tool is associated with around the home, while others can be disturbed by the noise the equipment makes.
In many instances, a negative memory of undergoing certain procedures as a child can affect a person’s attitude towards treatment in later life. Even individuals who look after their teeth and gums very well – perhaps in a bid to prevent drilling work – are advised to visit a professional on a regular basis.
Dentists are able to spot minor problems, including those as simple as a small cavity, which can put patients through stress with some refusing to have certain procedures carried out in a bid to put it off.
Patients in this position will find it is usually their shock at the need for dental work they find the most difficult to handle, particularly for those who look after their pearly whites to the best of their ability.
While this may seem like the easier option, leaving issues like small holes or a chipped tooth for a long period of time without treatment could be the start of a more serious problem that causes a lot of pain and requires more severe and expensive attention.
In most cases, the physical characteristics of this ailment include nervousness, complete denial the procedure needs to be carried out and anxiety that can present itself in many forms.
A high number of individuals living with this crippling fear experience defiance about the condition of their pearly whites because they refuse to accept there could be something wrong.
Luckily, members of the public who suffer from dental phobia go to great lengths to maintain their oral health in a bid to avoid requiring a visit to their local clinic, while some still go to their dentist for regular check-ups.
Under these circumstances, practitioners usually look for a way to encourage their patient back into the dentist to finish their treatment to prevent the development of wider issues with the teeth and gums that are left to worsen due to a lack of attention.
Communication and preparation are just as important in relaxing a patient with a fear of drills as any other dental phobia. Giving a person the time to process the fact that they require treatment is potentially better than offering it to them on the spot.
A solution to such a problem is usually resolvable when patients take time to visit their dentist for a conversation about their anxiety and methods that could be used to ease it.
Luckily, modern day practitioners are far better at discussing treatments in a friendly and accessible manner, possibly due to their desire to keep as many patients as they can and get to know them rather than risking losing their custom.
Following an initial consultation, feeling comfortable in the dental chair is one of the most important factors. Some patients will be permitted to use mp3 players during treatment to block out the noise of the drill.
Alternatively, dentists themselves can deploy a range of simple distraction techniques – including asking different questions at certain times to take a person’s mind away from the procedure – while others will have a television or DVD playing.
For those people whose phobia has been present for a number of years, simple witnessing the advancements that have taken place in the world of dentistry could ease their nerves, while talking to a professional about the new type of drills could also help.
If all else fails, an administrator may recommend the use of other techniques – such as air abrasion or laser dentistry – but these methods are unavailable in many cases, which highlights the importance of tackling a fear properly.
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