Dentophobia also called odontophobia, or fear of dentists is a real fear that may affect people of all ages. Healthline states that it is an extreme or irrational fear of going to the dentist which can prevent people from seeking the dental health care they need to maintain their oral health.
According to research, as much as 60% of the population reported some degree of dental fear. Unfortunately, if you are one of these individuals who are reluctant to visit your dentist, you may be at a higher risk of developing a variety of dental health issues. By putting off your bi-annual dental visits may lead to tooth decay or gum disease which will have serious implications for your smile. Likewise, the reluctance to visit your family dentist can mean that you will only make a dental appointment when you are experiencing extreme dental discomfort that will need more complicated dental treatments, hence reinforcing your fear of dentists.
Difference Between Dental Phobia and Dental Fear
Many people use the terms phobia and fear interchangeably. However, they are different states varying in the degree of anxiety they can cause. For example, those who fear going to the dentist may avoid dental visits until they find themselves in a situation where they have to go to resolve a dental issue.
By contrast, if you are one of the estimated 2.7 percent of men and 4.6 percent of women who suffer from dentophobia, just the thought of visiting a dentist causes you extreme anxiety and you refuse to visit the dentist no matter what. A phobia is also often characterized as being irrational – you know that going to the dentist is good for you but you still experience extreme fear just thinking about it. A phobia can interfere with your life and with maintaining your oral health.
Some of the Causes of Dentophobia
The causes of dentophobia and dental fear can be many. They are usually based on negative experiences. Here are some possible causes:
- The fear of pain is the most common cause of dentophobia since our mouth is quite sensitive and some people couldn’t imagine a dentist sticking a needle in their gums or using a drill to make a small cavity within their teeth.
- You may develop dentophobia because of negative or painful childhood experiences when you visited the dentist.
- Genetic predisposition to phobias or anxiety disorders. You are more at risk of experiencing phobias if you have a parent or other family members with anxiety disorders.
- Some people have a generalized fear of doctors or nurses and as a result, also avoid dentists.
- Often patients comment that the environment of dental offices feels cold and uncomfortable which may cause dental phobias (e.g. needles used inside the mouth, sounds made by dental tools as they are drilling, smells during the drilling, and the possibility of pain).
- People with a strong gag reflex can feel extremely uncomfortable about having their mouths open while a dentist is working on their teeth. They fear that won’t be able to control the urge to vomit.
Treatment for Dentophobia
One of the most effective treatments for dentophobia is sedation. It’s ideal because it is quick and allows you to overcome your fear and anxiety. Sedation can provide you with comfortable and pain-free dental treatment without shots. In sedation dentistry, your dentist uses oral sedatives to help you relax and have a pleasant dental experience.
Sedation dentistry is also a suitable option if you have a strong gag reflex or are afraid of needles. Of course, one of the greatest benefits of sedation dentistry is that it enables you to complete complex or multiple dental procedures in fewer visits.
In most cases, oral sedation enables you to remain conscious, safe, and able to respond to your dentist. The pills used in oral sedation cause a euphoric effect that dulls your perception of the noise, smell, and pain.
Consequently, oral sedation can be a great way to help you tolerate dental procedures that are part of essential dental care. It is a safe procedure that can increase your comfort level and prevent you from having unpleasant memories of smells, noise, or pain.
Langley Dental Care – Oral Sedation
At Langley Dental Centre, we are constantly updating our dental services with the latest technology and dental equipment such as sedation dentistry, CAD/CAM, and Digital X-Rays. Our goal is to provide you with dental care and treatments that are more comfortable and effective. The use of the latest dental technology also makes it simpler for our dentists to perform various procedures with precision in order to improve the success rate of each dental procedure and make the procedure as comfortable and pain-free as possible.
We recommend sedation-assisted dentistry for our anxious patients including those with dentophobia. Our sedation dentist in Langley, BC, offers ‘no shots’ procedures in shorter appointments with the latest regimens in oral sedation.
If you are anxious about visiting your dentist and would like to learn more about sedation dentistry and whether it is right for you, give us a call at (604) 455-6247 or contact us online. Our Langley dental clinic is located near the intersection of 86th Avenue and 200 Street. Our Langley dentists provide personalized dental care to patients of all ages in Langley, including areas in and around Surrey, Cloverdale, Aldergrove, and Abbotsford.