Do you feel anxious at the thought of visiting your dentist? Significant dental anxiety causes people to delay their dental visits or even avoid their dentist and oral surgeon altogether, often resulting in a decline of their general health. Visiting your dentist twice a year is crucial so that your dentist can determine if you have signs of oral health problems early, when they may be easier to treat.
Nothing good comes out of avoiding your dentist or oral surgeon, but we understand it’s not easy for some people to make peace with their fears.
Learn more about dental phobia below.
Understanding Dental Phobia
The following terms are used by psychologists to describe dental phobia: dental fear, dental anxiety, dentophobia, dentist phobia, and odontophobia. They all mean the same thing: an irrational fear of visiting the dentist to receive dental care. In many cases, individuals develop dental phobia due to past traumatic experiences at the dentist.
This fear typically manifests because they experienced pain during their check-up or had a negative interaction with their dentist. If you experience dental phobia, here are a few tips that can help you manage your fears.
Be Open with Your Dentist
Many patients who have dental phobia feel embarrassed to address their anxiety out of fear of judgment, but they shouldn’t feel ashamed. By talking to your dentist or oral surgeon about your worries, they can better accommodate your needs. Most dentists understand and empathize with nervous patients, and they have the training to help put your mind at ease.
One recommended approach your dentist or oral surgeon can take is the “tell-show-do” strategy, which helps create trust and certainty between patients and dentists. Your dentist or oral surgeon will make sure you know what to expect during your visit by explaining every step involved in your check-up. They can also introduce you to the tools and equipment they will use so that you don’t have to grapple with uncertainty.
Furthermore, your dentist or oral surgeon may also suggest other coping strategies, such as rest breaks and shared signals in the event you want them to pause a procedure to soothe your nerves.
Using Distractions as a Coping Mechanism
Today, most dental offices are equipped with televisions, earbuds for listening to music, and other entertainment options that patients can use. You can ask your dentist or oral surgeon if you can watch a TV show, movie, or listen to music. Ask them if you can wear headphones since they can block out drills and other noises that may make you uncomfortable. Focusing on visual or audio stimuli can help people with dental anxiety feel more relaxed.
Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah is Here for You
Dental phobia can be debilitating, and if left untreated, you may avoid your dentist for years, which can deteriorate your oral and general health. At Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah, we understand the complexities of this fear, and we’re ready to help you overcome it so that you can receive the dental care you need.
Our board-certified oral surgeons specialize in tooth extraction, dental implant insertion, bone grafting, corrective jaw surgery, and more. We have offices in Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan, and Tooele. Schedule your free consultation today.