Fear of the dentist: degrees, causes and solutions

people afraid of the dentist

Fear of the dentist is far from being confined to children. also affects many adults. It can take the form of simple apprehension or even a real phobia of visiting the doctor. If this fear often lends itself to a smile in extreme cases, it prevents necessary oral and dental care from being carried out. This is known as stomatophobia, dentophobia or odontophobia. 

The different degrees of fear of the dentist

It's safe to say that no one goes to the dentist for the fun of it. In the collective imagination, treatment by this specialist is intrinsically associated with pain. are intrinsically associated with pain. As a result, almost all of us feel a natural apprehension apprehension about visiting a dental surgery. 

When a person shows symptoms of anxiety before going to the dentist, it's called fear. before going to the dentist, it's called fear. Examples include systematic insomnia the night before a dental appointment. This fear is one of the main reasons why people reasons why people don't go to the dentist.

If this fear becomes intense and manifests itself physically, we speak of dental phobia. Symptoms of stomatophobia include tachycardia, hyperventilation, tremors, excessive sweating and nausea. In the most severe cases, the patient may suffer a panic attack or lose consciousness.

A phobia of dentistry should not be taken lightly. What's more, it's much more widespread than you might think. It can lead some people to refuse any treatment at all, even in the event of a dental accident.dental emergency . This deficiency is detrimental to oral hygiene and, ultimately, to the patient's general state of health.

Causes of dental phobia

In our subconscious, we retain the image of the tooth puller. image. Dental treatment is therefore often associated with a painful experience. Even if techniques have evolved, the fear of pain is always present. It is the fear of the dentist.

Some patients are frightened by the grinding sound of the drill. teeth. Others are frightened by the smell of the products that characterize dental offices. A few are particularly afraid of anesthesia.

It's not uncommon for people to refuse to see a dentist because they're ashamed of their dirty or damaged teeth. Another reason for odontophobia is the perception that dental treatment is intrusive.

Most people who are afraid of the dentist have lived through or observed a traumatic experience in their past. A painful tooth extraction, an accident, hospitalization or assault can all trigger symptoms of intense fear. 

In the end, these people abandon their oral hygiene. Tartar builds up and the consequences are disastrous: periodontal disease, gingivitis, cavities, tooth loss, even ENT problems and heart disease. On a psychological level, bad teeth prevent you from smiling, eating and speaking properly. Social and emotional life also suffers.

How to overcome fear of the dentist?

Rest assured, it is possible to tame the fear of the dentist and overcome your psychological block. Your first challenge is to admit your anxiety or phobia to your doctor. He needs to be informed so he can understand your reactions and adapt. Establishing a relationship of trust with your dentist is vital.

In cases of mild anxiety, we recommend going to bed early the night before the consultation and avoiding excitants. Don't hesitate to practice relaxation techniques in the waiting room and dental office. Bring your own headphones to listen to music. Breathe slowly and try to think of something that gives you pleasure. 

In cases of more intense dentophobia, the dental may prescribe medication with anxiolytic properties, to be taken the day before. Conscious sedation MEOPA (equimolar mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide), more commonly known as "laughing gas", is also an option. Its use has been authorized for use in dental practices. Anesthesia is considered when oral abandonment requires heavy interventions.

Long-term treatments include video teaching include video teaching, psychotherapy and hypnosis. These gentle methods offer several alternatives to combat your odontophobia. 

The team of dentists at HELVIDENT dental centerswith offices in Lausanne, Fribourg and Aigle, is at your service to provide the best possible care.