What is dental phobia?
Our life moves ahead with two distinctly paradoxical phenomena: the certainties and the uncertainties. When we are certain of how we govern our lives, we feel confident in our activities. And when we are uncertain, we are not so confident of our undertakings. Our health is one such aspect, which comes under both these phenomena. But due to the sedentary lifestyle we have today, the uncertainties attached to it are increasing. Of many factors that shape our health, dental hygiene is at the top of the list. And many times, either by ignorance or by reluctance, we tend not to prioritize dental health. Moreover, fear of a dentist, or dental procedures, or sometimes referred to as dental phobia, takes a toll on us. However, it is essential for us to understand what differentiates fear from a phobia.
When we are afraid of a particular medical procedure, we tend not to attend to our fear. And lack of attendance or addressing it converts our fear into a phobia. Therefore, a phobia is more deeply rooted in our psyche and whether we like it or not, it is a real threat.
What are the causes?
Prevention is better than cure. One must, therefore, be aware and sensitive to crises and resort to addressing any anomaly that might occur within our dental spectrum. The first step to prevention is to identify the root causes. Given below are some of the root causes of dental issues:
The foremost cause of any issue is ignorance. More often, we are ignorant of what we are going through and consider the most serious of issues as phases that will eventually pass by. And such an approach is the most common yet the most serious cause of degrading the dental conditions further and in turn, increasing dental phobia.
2) Fear of wrong Treatment/Bad experience
It goes without saying that our fear or resistance is born out of the fact that we acknowledge or address an issue in an undesired manner in the first place. The fact that we end up getting the wrong treatment for minor issues instills in us the phobia of undertaking any procedure in that field while dealing with major issues. And dental phobia is no exception. Many people have had bad experiences in the past, which further contribute to the increased fear.
3) Keeping it to Ourselves
It is often said that sharing does half the job. Well, many of us do not share our pain or our discomfort while dealing with dental issues either out of shame or out of sheer reluctance. However, keeping the concern to ourselves would only cease the scope of a helping hand to address dentophobia.
Sometimes, embarrassment appears disguised as fear, making us hide our degrading dental conditions. This only worsens our conditions and leads to devastating consequences.
5) Cost factor
The cost factor is always a major concern for family and individuals with lower incomes. For many people affording dental treatment means spending a considerable portion of their monthly income. So quite often, the fear is of increased expenditures, rather than dentophobia.
Here are 5 Effective Ways to Overcome Dental Phobia:
1) Keep it at bay
Avoid landing in tricky situations by always keeping in mind the important factors to prevent it from occurring. If we are careful about our dental rituals, if we do not overdose ourselves with eatables that harm our teeth, and if we nurture our mouth and teeth like we nurture our skin, nothing can stop us from having a great life.
2) Avoiding the Vicious Cycle
Fear of the dentist is way smaller than the pain of not seeing a dentist at all. It all starts from the point where we avoid our pain, and then we avoid seeing a dentist out of fear, which leads to waiting for an indefinite amount of time, and the pain worsens. We must stop this vicious cycle and make it a point to see a dentist right away in case of any issue just like the way we rush to a doctor whenever we experience any sickness in our body.
3) The Power of CBT (Cognitive behavioral therapy)
Dental anxiety can have larger effects on us. Therefore, we must regard the power of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and wholeheartedly invest in it. Happiness is a key ingredient for us to live the life we desire and CBT helps in addressing and tackling many issues that have an influence on our mental health, and dental phobia is one among them.
4) Sharing the Burden
As we said earlier, sharing will bring you joy in unexpected ways. A friend who has dealt with dentophobia before or a colleague who specializes in training people for dental hygiene will only be able to help you once you share your side of the story with them. Hence, always trust your dear ones and share the burden to lighten its impact!
5) Good dental habits go a long way
Lastly, we must focus on inculcating the good habits that we are taught since childhood rather than focusing on specific goals. Brushing twice a day, reaching out to online courses or counseling on dental anxiety, avoiding sugar after a certain time in the day are all systems that would set the ball rolling for you. And you will notice a drastic change once you put your attention to setting these systems.
It is up to us to acknowledge that there is a problem and that it needs intervention. Believe it or not, your alertness and proactive approach in negotiating your dental phobia can do wonders. So go ahead and take that leap of faith!
At DeVaney Dentistry, we use advanced sedation dentistry techniques to ensure that your dental procedure is a pleasurable, stress, and pain-free experience. If you have any other questions or concerns, call us any time and we’ll be more than happy to answer them.
Dr. Matt DeVaney is a certified and experienced IV sedation dentist providing sedation and dental services for the Greensboro and the greater Triad area.