For some people, just the mere mention of the word dentist is enough to get the heart racing and a feeling of nausea overwhelming the whole body. Dental phobia is one of the most common phobias in the UK but most sufferers don’t realise they are far from alone in their fear.
A phobia is officially classified as an irrational or severe fear that causes an immediate anxiety response or complete avoidance of the stimulus. Boiled down for dental phobics this means their fear of the dentist is so great they will avoid going at all costs. The cruel irony of the situation being that avoiding the dentist is likely to lead to an increased need to see one for emergency treatment in the future.
Dental phobia can be caused by any number of circumstances but research has shown that several reasons crop up time and again. For many patients a previous traumatic experience at the dentist, possibly during childhood, can be the cause of lifelong associated fear. For others, it is the fear of embarrassment because of their teeth and let’s not forget the classic anxiety over pain.
Whatever the cause of the phobia it is important that patients are able to confront these fears and receive the necessary treatment. First and foremost it is important to talk to a dentist. Bristol dentists are specially trained to deal with anxious patients and often just talking about the treatment will be enough to allay some of the fear. Other options include breathing exercises or self-hypnotism to control fear during appointments, and many dentists are now experimenting with aromatherapy techniques to help clam patients. Above all, it is just important to remember that you are not alone and that the dentist will be able to help you to overcome your fears with your help.