While a lot of people may simply attribute their fear to the pain associated with dental work, it’s actually a lot more complex than that.
Fear of the Dentist
17 October 2022
Does the sound of a dental drill send a shiver down your spine? Even the thought of a syringe might make you clamp your mouth shut. If this is the case, you’re definitely not alone. Many people around the world experience a fear of going to the dentist (dentophobia) and dental related procedures.
Research has shown that about one in seven adult Australians experience some form of dentist related anxiety, making it one of the most common emotional disorders in the country.
To help alleviate these fears, we need to develop a comprehensive understanding of why we have them in the first place. Looking at how our emotions influence our thoughts and the health impacts related to neglecting your oral health.
Why Am I Scared Of The Dentist?
You won’t have to search long to find a TV show or movie depicting a dentist visit in a negative light. Often the cause of a beloved main character’s anxiety, popular culture seems to be obsessed with perpetuating the myth that a dentist’s chair is a scary place.
While a lot of people may simply attribute their fear to the pain associated with dental work, it’s actually a lot more complex than that. In fact, after the initial slight pain of the anaesthetic needle (which can also be dulled with some numbing cream), your dental procedure won’t hurt at all. With the area completely numbed, all you’ll experience is the slight discomfort and fatigue or keeping your mouth open.
Misinformation About Dental Procedures
A common explanation for the fear is misinformation. Exaggerated tales told over generations about needles the length of forearms and industrial strength drills can create an atmosphere of anxiety in even the bravest of us.
Sometimes not even intentional, past experiences of friends and family can find their way passed onto us in general conversation — further and further from the truth each time they’re retold.
There’s also, of course, the perceived lack of control involved. Some of us may simply feel anxious about having to endure something we have little to no control over, emphasising just how important it is to find the right dentist for you.
What Happens If I Don’t Go To The Dentist?
There’s nothing real to fear at the dentist, but there are real consequences to avoiding your checkups. Even the most thorough brushers and flossers still aren’t privy to the expert eye of a dental professional, and can be unaware of a number of oral health issues.
Without regular check ups (at least every 6 months) you risk letting small problems become much larger. Preventative dentistry is an essential part of modern oral health care and holds great importance.
Avoiding your regular checkups can cause:
Tips To Avoid Anxiety When Visiting The Dentist
Overcoming your phobia will truly give you a new lease on life. No longer fearing your dentist, you can grow to actually look forward to your regular visits. Knowing that your dentist is there to help you lead a better quality of life with great oral health.
While we understand it’s no easy feat to overcome a phobia (especially if it’s a lifelong one), there are a few easy things you can do to reduce your overall anxiety when it comes time to visit your dentist.
- Try not to have too much caffeine or sugar prior to your appointment. If you’re already on edge, these natural stimulants will only make things worse.
- Visit your dental clinic beforehand to familiarise yourself with the location. A familiar environment will always result in less stress than a foreign one
- Speak to your dentist about your procedure prior to it commencing. A good dentist will always be more than willing to walk you through everything involved.
- Try some gentle breathing exercises to relax your mind on the day of your appointment. Slowing down your breathing can stabilise your racing body and mind.
- In extreme cases, professional psychology can even be used to help you get over your phobia.
Gentle Care At Innovative Dental
If you’re not somebody who looks forward to their next check up — let Innovative Dental Moonee Ponds change that! With state-of-the-art equipment and modern facilities, our patient’s comfort and peace of mind comes first every time.
Dr. Naser Eshak has over 30 years of experience in the industry and aims to provide a gentle yet thorough level of the care that’s appreciated by all of our patients.
Book your appointment online today.