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Everybody has fears. Some people are afraid of clowns and some are afraid of snakes but one of the biggest fears that people have is going to the dentist. Nearly 75% of adults in the US have some type of fear of the dentist and out of that 75%, around 10% of those adults have an extreme fear of the dentist called dentophobia. Dentophobia is a fear of the dentist that’s so strong they avoid going to the dentist altogether.
Because people are so afraid of the dentist, they miss out on deep cleanings to keep their teeth clean and healthy… People figure, if you brush, floss, and use mouthwash daily that you won’t really need to go see the dentist unless you need to straighten your teeth with braces or need a root canal. But what people don’t realize is that there are so many things you don’t know about your teeth. Some of your most basic daily teeth cleaning habits are probably being done all wrong.
Why are People So Afraid of Going to the Dentist?
People avoid going to the dentist for many reasons but according to WebMD, five to eight percent of people avoid going to the dentist purely out of fear, among other reasons, but let’s take a look at the most common reasons why people avoid going to the dentist.
Fear of Pain
You’ve heard people say that they have either a high or low tolerance for pain, right? What that’s really saying is how well a person can handle pain. Well, the thing is, some people may have a high tolerance for pain but dental pain is a totally different ball game. There are people who can handle any type of pain thrown at them but one prick on their gums will make them never go to the dentist again!
Most of the times, people feel like their procedure is going to be as painful as their actual tooth issue. The reality is that some procedures aren’t even as painful as people make them out to be, plus, dentists know when certain procedures are going to be painful, therefore they’ll have medication on hand to offer patients. Aside from the fear of pain, people have other fears associated with the dentist as well. Other dental fears outside of pain include but are not limited to:
- The actual dentist
- Dental equipment (equipment that’s sharp and loud)
- Not being able to see what’s going on
- Seeing other patients with cotton in their mouth
They Have No Control Over the Situation
When you first walk into the dental room, they’ll have you to sit back in the chair and tell you to relax. From there, they’ll lean the chair all the way back so that they can see in your mouth; You hear all of these loud noises and see the sharp instruments they’re reaching for that they’re going to use to poke around in your mouth with… not being able to see exactly what they’re doing with those instruments and where they’re poking can just be too much for some people. The fact that they tell you to be very still doesn’t help either; it makes them feel like they can’t get up if they need to, making them feel completely out of control of their situation.
They’ve Had Previous Bad Experiences at the Dentist
If someone has only one bad dental experience, it can ruin dental visits for them for a very long time. If a child has a bad dental experience causing them to be afraid of the dentist, that fear can stick with them well into their adult years. Whether the dentist accidentally knicked their gums or made some type of mistake, the slightest thing will make a person with dentophobia never return to the dentist.
How to Treat Dental Fears
For most people who are extremely afraid of the dentist, the treatment isn’t going to be much of a comfort for them as much as a relaxing environment will be. Dentophobia patients need to be treated with extreme care and compassion. The best option for dentophobia patients is to look into sedation dentistry. There are several dental and orthodontic offices all over the world that offer sedation dentistry but one of the best orthodontist is in Houston, Texas so if you’re suffering from dentophobia, it would be worth your while to pay them a visit.