Dentophobia (Fear of dentists)
What is dentophobia?
Also known as Odontophobia, dentophobia is a fear of visiting the dentist.
How does dentophobia start?
Your fear may be down to a bad experience with a dentist in the past. If so it is important to remember, you never have to see that dentist again and that one incident, (luckily), doesn’t represent the entire profession of dentists. For Example, If you had a haircut that you were unhappy with, you wouldn’t stop having your haircut, you would simply seek out a different hairdresser instead of ruling out all hairdressers! If on the other hand, your fear has been learnt from a parent or elder sibling, it is important to consider that you have adopted this behaviour involuntarily. Your fear might not actually be of dentists but more of needles or medical procedures, there again, this might stem from an incident when you were younger.
The great news is that dentophobia, like any other phobia, can be completely overcome. Not many people find pleasure in visiting the dentist but having dentophobia can result in painful tooth conditions, bad breath or even tooth decay. Which is why it is vital to address and alter your perception of the events that created your phobia in the first place as well as to learn the facts.
We have put together some top tips to help you get started on conquering your phobia.
- There are many great, skilled dentists in the world and there have been so many advancements in dental treatment to make it as pain-free and comfortable as possible.
- Dentists are trained to have an understanding of dental anxieties and phobias and will be happy to reassure you.
- Consider that the toothache you may be enduring is likely more uncomfortable than the dental procedure needed to treat it.
- When you make that call to the dentist you’d like to attend, let them know about your phobia and they may be able to facilitate a visit to the surgery to familiarise you with the setting and reassure you before your consultation.
- Think of the benefits of having the treatment you may need. You will have the great smile you deserve which will be an amazing boost to your confidence.
- If you are you put off by the fear of needles, have a chat with your dentist about using alternatives, such as a numbing gel.
- Take a friend with you to your appointment, someone who will help you to relax.
- Make an appointment for a simple check up or a polish to begin with. These procedures are pain-free and will build your confidence.
- Listen to favourite music or a podcast during your visit, this will help distract your attention.
- Use positive visualisation and rehearse in your mind a favourable outcome. Instead of worrying about what might go wrong, positive visualisation can allow you to imagine it going right! If you need some inspiration, check out our Positive Visualisation video and get started today!
Living with dentophobia can be extremely challenging, however, you are not alone. Here at Trauma Research UK, our belief is, ‘it’s not what’s wrong with you, it’s what happened to you’. With this philosophy, we believe that everyone can successfully overcome their mental health issues if given the right help and support. Read more…
Frequently Asked Questions
The most effective way to overcome a phobia is by gradually and repeatedly exposing yourself to what you fear in a safe and controlled way. This is not always easy alone, but one hundred percent possible. FIND OUT MORE
Panic attacks can seem to emerge from nowhere and be extremely frightening, but they can be overcome. FIND OUT MORE
Absolutely. Social anxiety is usually a learned behaviour, often formed in childhood. Locating the origin of your belief is key. FIND OUT MORE