Dental phobia: the serious condition you may not know about

Dental phobia is a serious condition that leaves people panicked and terrified at the thought of attending a dental checkup. People with dental phobia have an awareness that their fear is irrational, but they are unable to do much about it. They exhibit classic avoidance behaviour; in other words, they will do everything possible to avoid going for a check-up. People with dental phobia usually go to the dentist Meath only when they are in extreme pain. If you suffer from dental phobia, you may require psychiatric consultation in some cases.

What is dental phobia, and what are the symptoms?

Dental phobia, also known as odontophobia, is a type of anxiety disorder that is characterised by an intense fear of dental procedures. People with this condition may experience shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, sweating, and even nausea or vomiting at the thought of going to a dental surgery. In severe cases, people with dental phobia may experience a full-blown panic attack. Dental phobia is often accompanied by other anxiety disorders, such as social anxiety disorder or generalised anxiety disorder.

What causes dental phobia?

There is no single cause of dental phobia. It is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Some people may be predisposed to anxiety disorders due to their genes and family history. Others may develop dental phobia after a traumatic dental experience, such as a painful procedure or a bad reaction to anaesthesia. Still, others may witness someone else’s fear of dental procedures and learn to associate these treatments with fear.

woman in fear of dentist

How is dental phobia treated?

Dental phobia can be treated in a number of ways. The most common treatment is exposure therapy, which gradually exposes the patient to the object or situation they are afraid of. This can be done in many ways, such as through books, movies, or even real-life situations. Other treatments include cognitive behavioural therapy. But often when presenting at a surgery, there is limited time for treatment and a pressing medical need.

In some cases, medication may be prescribed to help the patient relax during treatment, but this is usually only done in extreme cases. Such medication does not address the underlying cause of the phobia but does allow necessary treatment in the short term.

Dental phobia is a serious condition that can have a significant impact on a person’s life. If you or someone you know suffers from dental phobia, it is important to seek professional help. With the right treatment, it is possible to overcome this fear and enjoy good oral health.

Finding the right clinic

Finding a dental team that understands your needs is vital and a good starting point. Google can help you find such teams in your area. Many offer free consultations to allow you to meet the team and discuss your requirements. This would give you an opportunity to ask any questions and get a feel for the environment. If possible, try and visit a friend or family member who has had treatment at the clinic or may be willing to check it out on your behalf.

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