Odontophobia, or dentophobia, is a fear of dentists and dental procedures that is more severe than the average person’s fear of a potentially unpleasant experience. At its worst, it can keep people from seeking necessary dental treatment, which can lead to serious oral health and overall health problems. We will discuss what odontophobia is, how it differs from milder fears of dental procedures, and how patients can cope with it. We will also explore the various treatment options that dentists offer in order to manage this fear and keep patients coming back to the clinic for their necessary oral and dental care.
Odontophobia is an extreme fear of visiting the dentist and/or dental procedures that is more severe than the average person’s trepidation as it relates to anticipating painful or uncomfortable experiences. It can keep people from seeking necessary dental treatment for years which can have serious consequences on their overall health.
A phobia is an intense, irrational fear of something that poses no real danger. Phobias are usually characterized by specific qualities such as the fear being excessive and out of proportion to the threat posed, the fear being persistent and resistant to change, and the fear causing significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. Unlike milder fears, phobias usually persist even when the sufferer knows there is no logical reason to be afraid. They can be very disruptive and interfere with everyday activities.
People with odontophobia may feel an intense fear or dread when thinking about or preparing for a dental appointment. True odontophobes may avoid seeking dental care altogether, even when they are in pain or have other symptoms of a dental problem.
Odontophobia is different from a milder fear of dental procedures, which is very common among patients. Dental clinics and procedures are not usually described as pleasant or fun by most visitors, therefore, patients may feel anxious about going to the dentist, but they do not typically experience the same intense fear or dread as those with odontophobia.
There are several ways that people with true odontophobia can cope with their fear. First, it is important is to find a dentist who is understanding and sympathetic to their needs. Some patients may want to undergo counseling or therapy to help them prepare for dental visits and manage their fears. Additionally, there are various treatment options that dentists themselves may offer in order to manage this fear and keep patients coming back to the clinic for their necessary oral and dental care.
These treatment options include sedation, which can help people with odontophobia relax during a dental procedure. Dentists may also use numbing agents to help reduce the pain – and associated fear – that may accompany their necessary dental procedures. Additionally, they may provide patients with distraction techniques, such as watching television or listening to music, to help take their mind off of the procedure.
If you or someone you know has odontophobia, it is important to seek a treatment that works for you or them in order to manage fears, ensure dental visits are made and kept, and maintain good oral and overall health. Physicians, counselors, and dentists can offer various treatment options that can help people with this phobia relax during a dental visit and/or procedure. It is possible to take control of this and other phobias to ensure you stay as healthy as possible and care for yourself properly throughout your life. You may be stronger than you think!