Dentophobia, or fear of going to the dentist, is a common form of anxiety, with some of the worst sufferers dreading the experience so much they choose to forgo appointments. While the reasons behind these feelings are varied, there are methods for relieving this source of anxiety. To help you assess your situation and learn more about how to overcome your fear, here is some information about the psychology behind these all too common feelings.
Negative Prior Experience
If you had a negative experience at the dental office in the past, it often leads you to assume any future appointments will have similar results. However, a single bad experience doesn’t mean your next treatment will be one too.
For patients who experience this form of anxiety, one of the best approaches is to find a Dallas area dentist who understands your concerns, and is willing to work with you to ensure your comfort. Then, as you begin having positive experiences, your concerns often naturally start to subside.
Discomfort with Certain Stimuli
Some people aren’t afraid of the dentist entirely. Instead, there are certain parts of the experience that cause anxiety. For example, the use of needles or drills can make some patients automatically uncomfortable, while those with misophonia might not have an issue with the equipment itself but have trouble dealing with the sounds associated with the visit.
As with those who had negative prior experiences, your first step should be to speak with your dentist. They may be able to offer options to help you feel more comfortable. For example, patients who have trouble with the sounds in a dental office may benefit from listening to music through headphones. Others may do well with access to a stress ball to help them channel some of the tension.
In cases where basic changes aren’t enough to alleviate the stress, then there are additional options. Enteral conscious sedation sometimes referred to as “sedation dentistry,” can allow you to feel more relaxed through the use of oral medications administered by your dentist. You maintain complete control of your bodily functions and you are able to breathe on your own, but are in a sedated state. This helps you stay relaxed through the appointment and can be an ideal starting point for those with severe anxiety.
If your feelings about going to the dentist have caused you to put your oral health on the backburner, now is a great time to speak with a Dallas area dentist, like Wow Dental, who understands these stresses and can help you overcome your fears. That way, they can work with you to ensure your optimal health while keeping you as comfortable as possible.