Dentophobia is the scientific word for the fear of dentistry and dental care. This phobia is very real and can prevent a person from receiving routine maintenance or having cavities or other tooth or gum problems addressed. Instead of allowing anxiety to build, there are a few things one can do to overcome this harmful emotion.
Often the fear of the unknown is crippling. Taking the time to talk with a doctor about general dentistry may be all it takes to have the courage to set up an appointment. Make sure to prepare as many questions as you can for the doctor so you have a specific picture of what will occur from the moment of arrival to walking out the door when it's all over. Some topics to discuss include cleaning procedures, the removal of plaque build-up on teeth, and the process of sealing molars.
Make Use of Modern Medicine
When it comes to general dentistry, there are a few modern medicines one can take advantage of to help calm nerves. A family physician can prescribe an anti-anxiety medication to take before an appointment, or one can opt for nitrous oxide, a gas that has a calming effect, during any procedure. There's also local anesthesia for surgical procedures, such as removing wisdom teeth.
Listen to Music
Music is known for its power to invoke emotion. Choose softer sounds, such as classical music, and talk with the doctor about wearing a set of headphones while he or she fulfills the exam. Simply create a playlist of songs that bring about a sense of relaxation, and then plug in the headphones when the doctor is ready to begin.
Plan a Reward
Take the focus off of the general dentistry and put it on a reward instead. Purchase a tasty pint of ice cream or another favorite snack, and a good book ahead of time. Only indulge in these trips once the appointment is over.
Do not Go It Alone
There is a sense of comfort in bringing a family member or friend along to a teeth cleaning or thorough examination. Set up an appointment with the dentist on a date when someone else is also available to go, and ask the person to be a source of encouragement.
Seek Professional Help
Depending on the degree of a person's fear, it may be best to contact a professional psychologist. This professional can dig deeper and find out what caused the anxiety, and then develop a plan to overcome it. He or she may offer help in the way of breathing techniques and at-home exercises that produce a sense of tranquility.
The more people face their fear of general dentistry, the less sensitive to it they will become. The above-mentioned steps are a great way to begin the journey to a healthy mind and mouth.