One of the most common reasons people fear the dentist is from horror stories that have spread through the gripe vine.
Dentist Dr Safa Al-Naher, who works at The Care Dental Practice and Care Dental Platinum in Hammersmith, West London, which specialises in the treatment of nervous patients, has debunked several myths that may be putting you off booking a check-up.
Speaking exclusively to FEMAIL, Dr Safa, who provides treatments as well as facial aesthetics to those who normally struggle with fear, has explained why going to the dentist shouldn’t be ‘scary’ – adding that the professionals are not ‘money grabbers’ – despite what people may think.
The expert has also offered her top tips to overcome fears of going to the dentist – including seeing a therapist to help you talk through your phobias or trying Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
Dentist Dr Safa Al-Naher, who works at The Care Dental Practice and Care Dental Platinum in Hammersmith, West London, has debunked common misconceptions about dentists and treatment. Pictured, stock image
1. GOING TO THE DENTIST IS SCARY
This is a completely understandable fear that many people have, and most of the time dental anxiety and phobias are a result of a particularly bad past experience.
Dentists know this and are highly trained in the psychology of dental phobias, how to spot them, and how to manage them.
Dentists receive experience in sedation and the management of nervous patients during their university training.
No two dental phobias are the same, and they range in severity, triggers and experiences.
Most people are afraid of pain, but other reasons for being afraid of the dentist include the feeling of loss of control, the fear of being told off and the various sounds and smells inside a dental practice.
Making an appointment and turning up is often the first step and usually an in-depth discussion takes place about what your problems are, what you would like to achieve and whether they are able to help you or need to refer you to someone who can.
2. PATIENT CAN’T GET OVER BAD EXPERIENCE THEY HAD AS A CHILD
This is the most common cause of dental phobias that we treat. As a child you don’t understand strange situations and cannot rationalise that sometimes it is necessary to experience pain for the greater good, so you develop an irrational fear of certain aspects of visiting the dentist.
There are many ways this can be addressed. The simplest way is by many small visits and discussions about your fears, and slowly becoming more familiar and comfortable with the dental environment and treatment.
Dr Safa Al-Naher (pictured), is a Dentist and Facial Aesthetics Practitioner and Trainer, and is Clinical Lead at her family-run dental clinics – The Care Dental Practice and Care Dental Platinum in Hammersmith, West London
This is a form of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and hypnosis with a registered Hypnotherapist can also help.
You can have dental sedation with ‘happy air’ or nitrous oxide sedation,