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While a trip to the dentist typically isn't painful, many of us experience a strong fear -
A phobia is an intense fear that we know deep down to be irrational. Just like many know that spiders are generally harmless but fear them anyway, many of us know intuitively that our dental work will likely be painless and simple, but still live in dread of it. As a result, we often delay or outright avoid dental care.
You know the feeling: your dental checkup is approaching, giving you a sense of unease and mild anxiety. Will it hurt? Will my dentist find horrible dental problems that will require painful, invasive treatments down the road? Those with dental phobia have a more profound, often exaggerated sense of fear. But, speaking frankly, should they, here in the 21st Century? Let's examine:
Causes of Dental Anxiety and Phobia: A dental phobia may develop from any number of originating factors, but there are some very common ones:
That helpless feeling — A very common phobia is that of lack of control, of being restrained by an outside person or force. This manifests in the dental chair, where patients need to be still and allow another person to probe and inspect their mouth. As a result, many feel dread at every flick of the dentist's wrist. But relaxation techniques can help a frightened patient to realize that the dentist is a professional and has no intention of causing unnecessary discomfort.
Embarrassment — The mouth is not a body part we routinely showcase to others, and also one we associate closely with uncleanness, so there can be some level of shame or embarrassment when a stranger examines it. Some of us are self-
Memory lane -
1. The past does not dictate the future, and
2. Dental care is necessary, and ignoring it only leads to more serious problems -
If you feel you have a strong, perhaps irrational phobia of the dentist, share these concerns with your dental professional. He or she is aware of this phenomenon and can help to relieve your anxiety. (In fact, for those with severe phobias, a mental health professional may be referred.) Remember: your dentist is human too, with fears and concerns for his or her own well-