Fear of the dentist is one of our most common fears. According to a recent study, it is a fear shared by more than 90 per cent of us. For most of that 90 per cent it is a fear that can be overcome by the knowledge that visiting a dentist is crucial for the maintenance of good oral health, and that by missing appointments it will only lead to future dental problems and further dental appointments. This kind of fear is known as dental anxiety and is usually fairly easily overcome. For some patients however, their fear is much greater to the extent that they are willing to sacrifice their dental health for the sake of fear. This more irrational fear of the dentist is commonly known as dental phobia. Patients who suffer from dental phobia frequently suffer from dental problems such as tooth decay, which will eventually require them to visit the dentist.
People’s fear of the dentist is usually sparked by one of several factors. An unpleasant childhood experience of the dentist can lead to a lifetime of fear. Others are embarrassed by the state of their teeth. Some patients simply describe a feeling of lack of control or vulnerability when in the dentist’s chair. Whatever the cause for the phobia, running away from your fears is never the answer and in most cases only succeeds in further compounding the problem.
Dental phobias are very real to the sufferers but they are not insurmountable. Very often just talking through your fears with the dentist will be enough reassurance. After all, you are unlikely to be their first nervous patient. They will also have been specially trained to deal with nervous patients. Other techniques to help you relax include breathing exercises or self-hypnosis. Patients who can maintain a level of trance like calm can often visit the dentist with little or no anxiety. The use of lavender oil can also help to calm the patient’s nerves before an appointment.
It is also worthwhile remembering that dentistry has made large strides in the last twenty years. Today’s dental practices resemble health spas more than hospitals. Most procedures can now be carried out with the minimum of discomfort and pain caused to the patient and can now be carried out in a fraction of the time it used to take, reducing the time you will need to spend in the chair.
If you suffer from dental anxiety or dental phobia, talk to your London W1 dentist before your appointment. They will be able to reassure you and offer advice on how to stay calm and relaxed throughout the appointment.