Ways to Avoid Dental Fear
Is dental visit a scary thought for you? Getting nervous at a dental clinic is one of the main reasons why people hesitate to go for a routine dental check up. Studies have revealed that about one third of US population neglect minor dental problems due to dental fear.
Is dental visit a scary thought for you? Getting nervous at a dental clinic is one of the main reasons why people hesitate to go for a routine dental check up. Studies have revealed that about one third of US population neglect minor dental problems due to dental fear. This attributes to increasing poor oral health in the population.
Fear is the basic human emotion to express his anxiety. Dental fear may be shown out as a feeling of anxiety or in severe cases, fainting or syncope.
Signs of dental fear
- Sleeplessness in the night before dental visit
- Nervousness while waiting for the consultation
- Feeling physically uncomfortable even with a thought about dental treatment
- Uneasiness inside the dentist room like, difficulty in breathing while the dentist tries to place some instruments in the patient’s mouth.
As per dental fear study conducted by researchers the main reasons for dental fear are:
1. Fear of pain while dental treatment: This root from the previous unpleasant experience in a dental clinic or some painful stories told by others about their dental clinic experience. But the recent advanced technology used in dentistry offers painless procedures in the dental clinic.
2. Fear about the side effects of local anesthesia used in dental procedure: some people are worried about the temporary numbness of the lip and associated areas.
3. Fear seeing the injection needle: A few are scared of the needles used inside the mouth for giving anesthesia.
4. Fear of physical closeness with dentist: Many people feel uncomfortable when the dental hygienist or the dentist comes close to their face.
Ways to deal with dental fear
Treatment of dental fear and anxiety is often a combination of behavioral and pharmacological techniques. The psychologist’s interaction with the dentist has been way very effective in helping people to deal and subside their dental fear.
There are also ways on how to stop dental fear from developing. These ways are applicable to children also.
1. Starting dental checkups at a very early age can make the child familiar and be comfortable with dental visits.
2. Making dental trips minimal by enforcing a good oral hygiene.
3. Be wary not to share dental fear to the child.
4. Looking for dentist specializing in pediatric care.
Among the proven effective behavioral and pharmacological techniques are as follows:
1. BEHAVIORAL TECHNIQUES
1.a. Positive Reinforcement — using constructive criticism and suggesting ways on how to improve oral health.
1.b. The use of non-threatening language
1.c. Tell-do-show technique — explaining the concept of the procedure to the patient.
1.d. Teaching relaxation techniques like diaphragmatic breathing and progressive muscle relaxation)
1.e. Cognitive (thought-based technique like cognitive restructuring and guided imagery)
1.f. Desensitization — alleviates the effect of disorders and phobias by graduated exposure therapy.
2. PHARMACOLOGICAL TECHNIQUES
Mild sedatives to general anesthesia are often used by dentist in conjunction with behavioral technique. These pharmacological product or sedative makes people feel calmer and drowsy during dental procedure but still remain conscious and can communicate with the dentist.
3. SELF HELP AND PEER SUPPORT
Family and friend’s support can help alleviate fear and boosts self-esteem and courage to undergo dental treatment.
4. DENTAL PRACTICE INNOVATION
Changing the environment setting from the usual threatening clinic to a more sophisticated and patient-friendly clinic can also alleviate dental fear. By integrating state-of-the-art technologies and entertainment media shifts the feeling of fear into a relaxed and pampering mood.
Personal stories of patients and dentists can also help alleviate dental fear. Dentists and researchers concluded that every patient and every appointment must be calibrated for individual needs at all time as most of the patient’s stories all points out to the fear of needles being penetrated deep in the gums.
Categories: Dentists, Teeth
Topics: Tags: anesthesia, anxiety, dental fear, dental problem, dental procedure, dental treatment, dentistry, fear, fear of pain, fear study