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Dentophobia: What is it?

Fear is something that we all have experienced at one time or another, this is one of the most basic human emotions.

From birth, we are equipped with the survival instincts to respond to fear or when to sense danger, the "fight or flight" reaction. However, there will be times when one will not be able to control these fears; or situations in which we are unable to fight.

Can you imagine experiencing this anxiety at the dental clinic? Having dentophobia can paralyze you and its effects can be very severe on your oral health, leading to gum disease, tooth decay, and other oral diseases. However, what are dentophobia and its symptoms?

What is dentophobia?

Dentophobia is the fear of dentists or the fear of dental work. This phobia affects people of all ages and is often associated with other phobias, such as iatrophobia (fear of doctors), trypanophobia (fear of needles), and even agoraphobia (fear of being in a situation where escape would be difficult or impossible).

FACT: Nearly 75% of the adult global population is known to fear dentists.

Some cases of dentophobia are so severe and traumatic, that the panic attack can lead to other oral problems.

The Different Types of Dentophobia

Several elements can cause dentophobia and are associated with this fear. People who suffer from this phobia often fear one or two elements associated with dentophobia, but those who severely suffer from this phobia fear all the elements simultaneously.

The elements include:

  • Gagging or Numbness – Some patients, especially the ones who have had difficulty breathing or have experienced choking, will fear having their mouths numb. This is because they fear they won’t be able to breathe or swallow once numb.
  • Needles – Getting an injection can be quite traumatic both for children and adults, when at the dentist's office seeing needless, drills and sharp objects can increase our fear of the dentist.
    FACT: 20% of people have a fear of needles.
  • Sounds and Smells – If you have had a negative and painful experience at the dentist’s office; then all the sounds and smells found at the office will increase your fears and phobias, especially the sounds of a drill.
  • The Dentist – Like many professionals, the dentist is often thought of as someone cold or unfeeling and, in the worst-case scenarios, as a sadistic person. However, truth is that dentists are professionals who care about your oral health, they want to protect your teeth and smile.
  • Pain – In recent years, advancements in medicine have made it possible to have completely painless dentistry. However, for some dental procedures, a slight amount of pain can occur. If you are extremely sensitive to mouth pain, visiting the dentist will increase your risk of dentophobia.

Symptoms of Dentophobia

Dentophobia can lead to a variety of physical and mental symptoms including:

  • Avoidance (one might put off seeing the dentist, leading to various dental complications)
    • The fear of dentists leads to more expensive dental treatment
    • Impact in various areas of your life
  • Feeling like crying, screaming, shaking, and/or sweating
  • Feeling nauseated
  • Full Blown Panic Attack: this includes wishing to flee or hide

Treating and Overcoming Dentophobia

There are several ways to treat and overcome dentophobia; however, the best way to overcome this fear is to communicate, explain your fears to your dentist, and their cause, and have him work together with you to overcome them.

There are a few clinics that have dentists with psychological training that enables them to offer patients with dentophobia better care and service.

During the diagnosis. the dentists should explain the dental procedures in a calming and gentle manner, this will reduce the patient's fear of the unknown. Also, positive reinforcement will give the patient confidence, through this confidence he might even overcome his fear of the dentist. Other techniques that someone with dentophobia can use include:

  • Deep Breathing Exercises
  • Guided Imagery (explaining the procedure in “friendly terms")
  • Muscle Relaxation

Some dental clinics might include the use of medication with mild sedatives to general anesthesia to relax a patient and others could use laughing gas, or nitrous oxide, to calm a nervous patient.

Today's dental offices include comforting music in their waiting room and depending on the dental procedure being performed, the dentist might allow you to use headphones during the procedure.

Thanks to these methods, the patient will feel a sense of trust in the dentist he/she has chosen, making it a bit easier to go through the dental procedure.

Sani Dental Group and Dentophobia

If you have dentophobia (fear of dentists), visiting Los Algodones could be a nightmare. Los Algodones is the capital of dental tourism and offers its visitors more than 300 dental clinics within a few blocks of the city, affordable dental treatments, and a place to vacation while fixing their teeth or smile.

In the case of Sani Dental Group, this dental clinic has grown with the city of Los Algodones and our dental clinic has a true interest in our patients. We have seen generations after generations come to our clinics to take care of their dental needs.

Here, our professional team of dentists can take care of all your oral problems and, if you suffer from dentophobia, our professionals will explain to you the dental procedure that will be performed.

If you are still nervous,  an IV Sedation could be offered, allowing the dentist to perform the procedure and you to relax. Remember that our dentists have years of experience and they are capable of helping you with a basic routine teeth check-up to an advanced “complex” dental surgery.

We invite you to come to Los Algodones and allow Sani Dental Group dentists to care about your oral health, take care of your teeth, and if necessary reconstruct your smile.

If you'd like to make an appointment, call (928) 257-1307 or make an appointment by clicking here.