Dental Phobia: How to Overcome Your Fear of the Dentist

woman feeling scared at the dentist

We all have fears in life. It’s relatively common, especially if we have a tragic memory associated with it. However, these fears of us can hinder our growth. In worst-case scenarios, it can sever us from the help we need. Fear is an insidious killer and one that can lead to physical diseases that we might not recognize due to the fear we have developed. One fear that can be pretty dangerous, especially when it comes to our dental health, is a dental phobia.

What Is Dental Phobia?

When we talk about phobias, we think about snakes, spiders, or maybe even heights. These are the most common phobias we know of, but there is one that’s quite common as these: dental phobia.

Phobias are an irrational fear of something. They create adverse reactions in our bodies and make us paranoid and over-sensitive to the world. In worse-case scenarios, phobias can manifest themselves even when they don’t actively see the phobia in front of them. Dental phobia can manifest all of these symptoms, and it’s problematic for people who have it.

People who have dental phobia tend to develop mouth disease. Their gums tend to be more infected than those who don’t have it. Furthermore, they are more susceptible to cavities and cancer. It’s also been correlated to diabetes and obesity.

People with dental phobia are few and far between, but there is a common manifestation of this mental disorder. One that is more prevalent but has fewer symptoms. This particular mental disorder is known to be dental anxiety.

What Is Dental Anxiety?

Dental anxiety is a milder form of dental phobia. It’s estimated that between 50% and 80% of American adults have dental anxiety, which causes extreme palpitations and stress in the presence of a dentist. They can’t undergo dental procedures without experiencing severe mental discomfort. However, this fear is less severe than a dental phobia, unlike dental phobia. Those with dental anxiety can visit the dentist a few times a year, while those with dental phobia actively avoid the dentist.

Is It All in the Mind?

Both dental anxiety and phobia are all in mind. It’s part of our cognitive process that’s related to survival. We human beings don’t like pain and suffering, and we do our best to alleviate it as much as possible. People who have these mental disorders are likely to recall a painful memory when visiting the dentist. Those with dental phobia tend to have an exaggerated version of this painful memory to the point when they can imagine themselves dying during a particular operation.

Getting through this is challenging but essential. If you have to live a healthy life, you must get through your dental anxiety or phobia.

Treatment

An existing treatment can help you get through these mental disorders. One standard treatment is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).

CBT can help you analyze the painful memory of the dentist into something more positive. It can also alleviate that pain so that you no longer have to encounter it when you go to the dentist. CBT is a powerful psychological tool and one of the best treatments against dental anxiety and phobia.

When your dental anxiety or phobia is too much, you might opt for specialized dental treatment instead. Conscious sedation is one way to get dental treatment while you have the disorder. You can get sedated through an IV drip before the dental operation starts. This will put you into a relaxed mood and, in some cases, can even put you to sleep so you can undergo the operation without knowing about it.

There are many more specialized dental treatments that can help you deal with dental phobia. Make sure to ask your local dental clinic for them. It can make your visit easier and more bearable when you utilize these options.

Lifestyle

The management of these disorders falls under your lifestyle. If you’re someone who doesn’t actively try to manage it, the worse it can get. Dental anxiety can turn into full-blow dental phobia if you continue to let irrational thoughts fill your mind. If you don’t want to get psychological treatment, but want to improve the overall state of your dental anxiety, then you’ll have to do some activities.

Meditation is something you should do a couple of times a week to deal with your anxiety. Being able to control your breathing can reassure you that you’ll be fine every time you visit the office. You can also choose to do yoga. Yoga has been known to treat people’s anxieties and can even help you manage depression.

Dental anxiety and phobia are all in your head. Through some treatment options and lifestyle management, you can get rid of these mental disorders to ensure that your dental health isn’t jeopardized.

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