What is dentist phobia?
Dentist phobia is the extreme and irrational fear of going to the dentist’s office. It is considered a phobia when this fear lasts for more than six months. It can be a fear of the dental clinic or of the treatments themselves. This is a fairly common phobia, since it is a specialty where the methods are very invasive. These can generate anxiety and stress in the patient.
Not going to the dentist can end up leading to a deterioration of dental health and cause oral pain or even tooth loss, among others.
Symptoms of dental phobia
People with odontophobia usually feel fear, panic or anxiety repeatedly every time they think of the dentist or have to go to the dentist. These sensations cause extreme discomfort that prevents the patient from being able to go to the specialist, as they do not feel comfortable and feel like running away. They feel in danger.
In addition, this anxiety can lead to an increase in pain sensitivity. On the other hand, there is also a choking reflex in the patient. It is more common in men than in women and occurs every time the professional introduces an instrument into the patient’s mouth.
What are the causes of dental phobia?
The causes are psychological. They stem from the fear and panic of going to the dentist. You have to take into account that dentistry is an invasive practice, where you have to be immobile, with your mouth open and with professionals manipulating instruments inside it.
To all this, we must add the discomfort when swallowing saliva, not being able to cough, yawn or even breathe out normally.
Treatments for dental phobia
The treatment will depend on each patient and their phobia, for example pain, needles, the cost of treatment… Many dental specialists are trained and specialized to know how to manage the fear felt by these patients.
Sedatives or anti-anxiety agents such as nitrous oxide can be used to try to reduce anxiety and tension. These are usually administered by mouth, inhalation or injection. If the phobia is very great, general anesthesia can always be chosen; recommended especially for children.
It is very important to go to a dentist with whom you trust, to be able to talk and discuss the different treatment options for the specific phobia.