One of the major phobias that people, both adults and children alike, have is the fear of going to the dentist. Just the thought of sitting in that space-age dental chair and the dentist looming ominously over us is enough to set the heart pumping. Throw in all the scary instruments lying in plain view and it’s a wonder we don’t just get up and run for our life!
This fear of dentists has gained enough importance to be christened with many exotic names like dentist phobia, dento-phobia, odonto-phobia, etc. Dental fear and anxiety are considered a serious affliction and many methods are being devised to tackle this very real fear. It is quite common to find people who would rather endure excruciating tooth pain than go to the dentist to get relief.
If you are here reading this article, you are probably one of the majority who hate the idea of making a dental appointment. It might be the thought of keeping your mouth open while a masked stranger prods and pokes your gums and teeth with instruments that make fearful noises. Or it could be the anticipation of pain that is making you apprehensive.
This kind of dental fear is very common and is in fact a universal phenomenon. There are those who are fearful because of previous bad experiences with dentists and then there are those who have heard someone narrate their horrifying experiences. Whether you are someone with a direct bad experience or someone with an indirect experience, there is still hope.
Dental procedures and even the training giving to dentists have improved dramatically over the years. Dental offices are no longer scary places. They are now staffed with warm and friendly hygienists who make sure you are comfortable. The ambience of the waiting room is definitely better than before.
Some dental clinics play soft music in the background to help you relax. A good dentist will spend considerable time getting acquainted with you and will help you relax before peering into your mouth. They also take time to explain what is wrong and what needs to be done to set your teeth straight.
‘Tell-Show-Do Technique’ is followed by most dentists in modern times. This technique makes sure that the dentist has described and discussed the problem in detail with the patient, has shown him or her what needs to be done and how painlessly it can be done, and only then proceeds with doing the actual procedure.
This sort of open communication between the dentist and the patient is absolutely necessary for managing ‘dental fears’. This should calm you down sufficiently. However, if you have a serious case of dental heebie-jeebies, you can go for help to one of the several clinics that have been set up to treat and manage this issue under medical supervision.
Interestingly, fear measurement instruments like the ‘Modified Dental Anxiety Scale’ and the ‘Corah’s Dental Anxiety Scale’ are used to determine the level of fear in a person. Based on this assessment, many treatment methods are employed. But, whatever treatment is given, it is the dentist who plays a crucial role in soothing the patient’s fears. So find yourself a kind and understanding dentist and say goodbye to your toothache for life!