Why are we afraid of the dentist? Can we avoid fear of the dentist?
The dental appointment is for most of us not a very pleasant time. Almost 60% of our patients at IMOI admit to having had feelings of fear or even dread at the thought of going to the dentist. It is clear that this type of unpleasant sensation is an impediment to having regular dental checkups, but in the end they manage to overcome their fear a little and come, sometimes reluctantly.
However, there are even more serious cases in which there are patients with odontophobia or fear of the dentist as a pathology recognized and certified by the WHO (World Health Organization) as a real disease that is estimated to affect around 15 to 20% of the world’s population.
In this case, the phobia is fed by a irrational terror against the dentist and everything related to the dental practice (such as the noise of the “drill”, the smell of disinfectant or medicines, needles, etc.) and, although the patient is aware of the irrationality of his fear, he cannot avoid it, to the point of presenting actual physical symptoms such as tachycardia, palpitations, sweating, fainting, hyperventilation, nausea, difficulty sleeping the night before the visit and panic attacks.
This deep fear causes patients with dental treatment phobia to have bitter visits to the dentist, so they resort to taking painkillers, antibiotics and other substances to self-medicate.
This avoidance behavior only increases the phobia, believing that it is impossible to overcome the problem. deterioration of oral health to forcing the patient to go to the dentist when the dental disease is so advanced that it will require even more traumatic treatments such as extractions or long therapy sessions.
This sets up a vicious circle that seems impossible to stop, but worry no more because from IMOI we are going to propose solutions and tips to avoid fear of the dentist.
11 tips for managing fear and anxiety of the dentist.
- BE INFORMED: Know ing the techniques and procedures you will have to go through will surely make you feel less afraid. Search for information about them and you will find that most of the procedures today are virtually painless and much less uncomfortable than in the past.
- FIND A DENTIST YOU TRUST: Having a good feeling with the person who will take care of your oral health is very important. It is essential to find a professional who is able to empathize with you and with whom you do not hesitate to confide your fears and doubts. Ask him to explain in detail all phases of therapy. In this aspect is where IMOI has solvency. 90% of patients who visit any IMOI dental clinic in Barcelona or Ibiza confess to feel comfortable in our clinics.
- CLINIC SPECIALIZED IN PAINLESS TREATMENTS. At IMOI, apart from the personal treatment with the doctors we have also specialized in techniques to perform painless dental treatments such as:
- ONE STEP AT A TIME: There is no need to do everything at once. Book a first appointment with the dentist just for a check-up, that way you will be allowed to familiarize yourself gradually. Follow up with some dental cleaning to boost your self-confidence. You can then schedule your appointments on a regular basis and respect them.
- THINK POSITIVE: Before each appointment, when anxiety starts to set in, focus on a positive thought, for example, that after the check-ups you will have a beautiful and healthy smile, think that you are a strong and determined person.
- BE ON TIME FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT: Some people find it works for them to stay a few minutes in the waiting room so they don’t go straight to the dentist’s chair. You can relax there by reading some magazines or taking a good book.
- SEE ACCOMPANIED:You can ask a friend or family member to accompany you to dental treatment sessions. Having the support of a supportive person can help instill serenity.
- TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND RELAX: During your visit to the dental clinic, try to relax and breathe slowly and deeply, if you focus on your breathing you will avoid panic attacks. You will also be able to release tension by leaning on an “anti-stress” ball or listen to your favorite music with headphones so that you do not hear the noise of the drill that causes so much panic to friends and strangers.
- REMEMBER TO REWARD: After each dental appointment give yourself a treat to reward you for overcoming your fears.
- CONTACT A PSYCHOTHERAPIST: If your fear is such that you can’t even stay in the dentist’s office, you may need the help of a specialist. Phobias can be overcome through psychotherapy techniques. You can even ask your trusted dentist if they know of any specialists in the treatment of phobias or anxiety disorders related to dentists.
- REQUESTS MODERATE SEDATION: Sedation is an option that could help you if you need to undergo major treatments. In this case your dentist may prescribe oral anti-anxiety medication that you could take before the dental session or operation. It must always be under the supervision and approval of your physician. At IMOI we have the necessary facilities and our own homologated operating room for the most complex and complicated treatments. In our medical staff we also have specialized anesthesiologists to control and monitor the whole process.
What if the patient afraid of the dentist is my child?
To control the fear of the dentist in the case of a child you can follow the following tips:
- TAKE IT TO PERIODIC CHECK-UPS:
From the first moment your child’s teeth start to come in, it is important that you take him/her to regular check-ups with the dentist. In this way, your child will get used to live this experience as something normal and routine and, of course, will gain confidence with everything related to the dental practice.
- PUT IT IN THE HANDS OF PROFESSIONALS WHO ARE EXPERTS IN CHILDREN
Children have a greater need to be listened to and reassured and we know that at Imoi, and therefore it is important that they have a total sympathy with their doctor to live a visit to the dentist as a pleasant experience.
- ALWAYS GIVE A POSITIVE APPROACH TO THE DENTAL VISIT.
We should always avoid using the figure of the dentist as a threat against a child’s whim or disobedience (“if you misbehave I will take you to the dentist who will make you prick…, etc.”).
Children have fewer paradigms related to the dentist, as adults it is important to never instill fear and make them see them as a normal part of our life.
For any questions do not hesitate to use the chat on the page, our dentists will help you.