Dental Phobia, Dentophobia, Odontophobia

A big, beautiful white smile is one of the best traits a person can have. Clean teeth can show that you take care of your body and important part of cleaning your teeth is visiting with a dentist on a regular basis. However, a dentist visit is not always a walk in the park and, despite all of the positive aspects, may cause an intense feeling of fear or dread in certain people. Dental phobia, also called dentophobia or odontophobia, refers to a fear of dentists or dental treatment. An estimated 14% of the American public admits to being hesitant to visit a dentist, while about six percent of these people are suffering from a deep dental phobia. While this phobia may seem harmless on the outside, avoiding professional dental treatment for years at a time will lead to devastating dental damage and a decline in hygiene.

Causes of Dental Phobia

A fear of the dentist may be traced back to several different sources. Some of the most common causes for dental phobia are:

  • Past traumatic experiences when visiting a dentist in the past or during childhood.
  • Afraid of being embarrassed or teased about your dental hygiene.
  • A fear of the pain involved with dentist treatment, usually after skipping routine visits.
  • Parents or loved ones who have also had a fear of dentists may have instilled the fear.
  • The feeling of helplessness or lack of control when visiting a dentist.
  • A history of abuse in your life may manifest itself in a dental phobia.

The causes of dental phobia are incredibly varied and could be traced back to one or multiple different sources. In order to properly take care of your teeth, visiting a dentist is a must and doctors are actively looking for a new way to treat patients with this fear. While there is no readily available cure for dental phobia, modern medicine has made multiple advances in new dental techniques and treatment options to better serve those with dental phobia.

Treatment of Dental Phobia

A person with dental phobia has the option of visiting with a psychologist to discuss their fears and undergo routine cognitive behavior therapy or exposure treatment methods. Other common methods in managing fear are available to help with dentophobia, such as group therapy or self-help methods. With advances in technology, treatment methods are also available directly at a dentist’s office. These methods may include nitrous oxide, which intends to cause euphoria in the patient while they undergo dental treatment. Topical and local anesthesia may also be applied to help numb the mouth while the dentist provides service to the patient. A person with dentophobia also has the option to visit a dentist who is willing to put them under total sedation while treatment takes place.

If you are tired of suffering through your dental phobia and want to get your smile back to it’s whitest, it may be time to contact a dental specialist to help you overcome your fear. New technology has progressed in the field of dentistry and has helped create several different methods to accommodate patients suffering from dentophobia. Do some early Internet research to help find the best local specialists available to you and get the treatment you need.

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