Anyone who suffers with a dental phobia will understand how terrifying a simple, routine visit to the dentist can be. Symptoms vary according to the severity of the condition, but can include:
- A build-up of fear over days leading up to the appointment.
- Loss of sleep.
- Sweating and nausea.
- Lack of appetite.
- A debilitating anxiety on the day, often leading to cancellation of the appointment.
- Paralysing terror in the waiting room.
What is a dental phobia?
The widely-accepted definition of a phobia is ‘an intense, irrational fear’ of something. It is not simply a dislike of attending, which many people have for the dentist, hospital or the doctor, but a condition that leads to the inability to face that fear; igniting the body’s ‘fight or flight’ reaction, and leaving sufferers with the inescapable thought that they will do almost anything to avoid the situation.
A dental phobia is an intense, irrational fear of the dentist.
Sufferers of dental phobia face frustration, anxiety, physical symptoms and as a result, embarrassment when they have a routine appointment approaching. It is an uncontrollable condition, often entirely misunderstood by the people around you. The symptoms are very real, and can be terrifying.
Can dental phobia cause health problems?
Dental phobia, if not overcome, can lead to severe oral health issues. Regular dental check-ups are vital to maintain healthy teeth and gums, and if not attended at least twice a year, issues that may arise in the mouth can easily be missed.
Some dental phobia sufferers can put off routine dental care for years, and will suffer in silence with dental issues, such as pain in the gums or teeth, infection or even broken teeth to avoid a visit to the dentist.
Sufferers of dental phobia face a heightened risk of gum disease and can lose teeth earlier in life than a patient who attends for regular check-ups. Also, the appearance of the teeth can suffer, which can have a knock-on effect to self-esteem. Discolouration is common in teeth that are uncared for professionally, and conditions such as misalignment, overbite or underbite are not recognised early enough. There are many conditions that can be treated quickly and easily with a regular visit to the dentist, as they are spotted early enough to make treatment possible.
At a regular visit to the dentist, patients can ensure that plaque does not build up, and a quick scale and polish can do wonders for the health of your mouth and your confidence.
What can you do to begin coping with dental phobia, and how can Dental Excel help you?
The physical and emotional effects of dental phobia can be treated, and should be addressed, as over time they can only get worse.
For effective treatment of your condition, you need to assess the level of the phobia, and give yourself a little time to work out what will work best for you. Generally, the biggest fears people have are; the fear of pain, the lack of control they experience in the dentist chair and also, the self-consciousness that one’s mouth may be unsightly. All these things (and many more) can trigger an attack of acute anxiety or dental phobia.
Dental Excel dentists on the Sunshine Coast are experienced in handling patients coping with dental phobia on many levels. Our friendly dental nurses and reception staff are also trained to recognise your symptoms, and are happy to help you to overcome your fears.
We have a few ideas, and tricks up our sleeves to assist you with your dental treatment concerns, whether you experience nervousness or a full-blown dental phobia. We enjoy a relaxed, friendly atmosphere at all our practices, and extend a warm welcome to our patients, who benefit from our warm approach. We want to help you keep your teeth for life, and enjoy having us look after you!
Here are some things you could try:
- Make an initial call to one of our four dental practices on the Sunshine Coast, or our practice in Bracken Ridge – talk to us about your fears.
- Call in to one of our dental practices and meet the friendly teams. The atmosphere in all our practices is relaxed, we all work better that way! Talk to us and take a seat in the waiting room for a few minutes to familiarise yourself with the place.
- Ask to see one of the treatment rooms.
- Ask to sit in a dental treatment chair.
- Make an appointment with one of our friendly, experienced dentists. Once you have talked through your appointment, you may find you feel more relaxed.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions about treatments – we are more than happy to listen and discuss your options with you in advance.
Dental Excel dentists are skilled in pain relief, and can offer you a range of options, including Happy Gas, should you require advanced treatment beyond your regular check-up.
Dental practices today are not what they were a decade ago. Advancements in treatment and technology have brought changes to dentistry, and if you haven’t been to the dentist for a few years, you may be pleasantly surprised at these changes.
Dental Excel technology includes some of the very latest in next-generation dental care practices, such as the Intra Oral Camera, which allows you to see what we see. We pride ourselves in keeping up-to-date, ensuring we can provide our patients with a holistic approach to dentistry. Let us help to alleviate some of your concerns – talk to us today at Dental Excel.