Fear of the Dentist–How to Cope with Dentophobia

Its common knowledge that oral health is closely linked with our overall health. To stay healthy, we must take good care of our teeth and maintain good oral hygiene. However, many people are scared to go to the dentist. It’s a prevalent fear that can stem from bad experiences with a dentist or worrying about your oral health.

Some people experience dentophobia or odontophobia. This is an extreme or irrational fear of going to the dentist. Due to this, it becomes extremely hard for a person to go to a dentist.

At Park Avenue Dental, we assure our patients of safe dental treatments in Gainesville.

Phobia vs. Fear

While the terms phobias and fears are often used interchangeably, they have completely different meanings. Fear can be simply avoidance or disliking something strongly. It doesn’t bother you until the situation is in front of you and you’re thinking about it.

On the other hand, phobias are much stronger. They are considered an anxiety disorder and can cause extreme distress. A person with dentophobia will avoid going to the dentist, even if their bad oral health interferes with their daily life.

If a person fears dental checkups, they will put off the appointments until absolutely necessary, and they don’t like the feeling, the instruments, the clinic, and the sounds. However, they will still put up with it when the time comes.

Dentophobia, on the other hand, is extreme fear. It doesn’t mean going to the dentist will cause a person any harm. The person will experience severe anxiety, nightmares, or even panic attacks at a simple thought or mere mention of a dentist.

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4.6% of women and 2.7% of men have dentophobia. It can be caused by past experiences. If a person has dealt with terrible dentists in the past, their feelings stuck with them, and now they experience this phobia. Some people are also afraid of the tools. If someone hasn’t been to a dentist in months or years, they fear something extremely wrong could be diagnosed, and they don’t want to deal with the consequences.

How to Stay Calm and Overcome This Fear

The best remedy is exposure therapy. You should go to the dentist and stop avoiding it. The dentist can sedate you, so you don’t have to stay awake during the treatments or procedures. However, it’s not something most dentists practice.

It’s easier said than done, and in the case of a true phobia, a person can take medication or therapy for this anxiety disorder. Gradually, the symptoms will be alleviated or managed so the person can visit the dentist.

For safe dental services, visit Park Avenue Dental today. We’re a dental clinic in Gainesville, Florida, offering excellent dental care. If you want a dental clinic for cosmetic, pediatric, or family dentistry, contact us to book an appointment.