Fear of the dentist – Tips to overcome fears of the dentist

Very few people like to go to the dentist. No wonder, because the visits are usually rather unpleasant in nature. Especially when an examination is followed by various treatments, many patients prefer to flee. To a certain extent, this way of thinking is completely normal. But what to do if the fear of the dentist becomes rampant?

Every fifth adult is afraid of the dentist

Causes of dentist anxiety

The fear of the dentist is also called dental phobia. The fact that this phenomenon even has a medical name says a lot about how serious the problem is for those affected. The causes of panic attacks, sweating and sleepless nights are manifold and sometimes even go back to childhood. Traumatic childhood experiences are often the trigger for dental anxiety, which accompanies a person into old age.

A few decades ago, dentistry did not have the means available today. For this reason, painful treatments were carried out under adverse conditions and, above all, without anaesthesia. The generation of people over the age of 50 is therefore particularly often affected by dental anxiety. Altogether even every fifth adult has fear of the dentist, as Malte Schaefer writes on zahnarztpraxisschaefer.de.

In addition to the methods of treatment, the behaviour of the dentist can also lead to years of fear of treatment. Especially doctors who do not have sufficient sensitivity can frighten young patients with wrong behaviour. Especially when the dentist does not take the fear seriously, minimizes pain or treats the patient carelessly, the shock is deep.

But not only personal experiences lead to a strong fear of the dentist. Reports from third parties can also influence us so strongly that the phobia strikes before the visit to the doctor. Especially when parents are not aware of pain, their experiences with a wisdom tooth operation or bad experiences on the dentist’s chair, this can fuel fear in children. People who have experienced such situations still suffer from the consequences even as adults. Stories from our circle of friends can also have a lasting negative influence on us.

Measures against fear

If one’s own fear is expressed openly, this already helps immensely. Anxiety patients should therefore speak openly to their doctor about their own concerns and ask him to be particularly careful. As a rule, dentists then know what to do. Sensitive doctors will explain the steps individually to their anxiety patients and be particularly sensitive. If the doctor should react completely differently than expected, for example by ridiculing the problems or even ignoring the patient’s remark, then only the change of doctor remains. Nobody should be treated by a dentist who does not like him humanly. As a rule, fear is reduced even when you feel you are in good hands.

Conversations with the dentist help to overcome fears

If the phobia is so strong that you can no longer control it alone, then patients should think about a therapy. Behavioural therapy can provide great relief and is very promising. Psychotherapists and special clinics offer appropriate therapies – however, the costs usually have to be borne privately.

The exchange with like-minded people can also help to overcome fears. Dental phobia is much more common than many people think. Anyone who can be sure that many other people are still struggling with the same problems automatically feels better. Going to a self-help group can be just as helpful as registering in special forums on this topic.

Another method to at least alleviate anxiety is autogenic training. This is a relaxation therapy that can be done at home. It is about internalizing certain principles by relaxing in a targeted way. If patients acquire autogenic training, certain sentences can also be recited internally during treatment at the dentist. This distracts and even slows down the pulse.

How the dentist can help overcome anxiety

Of course, no one can simply relieve the anxiety of those affected. Nevertheless, the behaviour of the dentist is decisive for the fact that Phobiker can at least relax a little. As a rule, it is extremely reassuring for people if they are explained the individual steps and the movements are not carried out too hectically. The instruments used should also be shown to the anxiety patients individually and the function explained briefly. Of course, this takes time, but it helps tremendously against anxiety.

Extensive explanations of the next steps help anxiety patients

In addition, anxious people should never be treated without a local anaesthetic if there is even the slightest risk of pain. In this way it can be prevented that the anxiety manifests itself further. In addition, a comfortable interior can counteract the anxiety. Happy colours, interesting murals, many plants and bright rooms give the practice a pleasant atmosphere and give the patients a feeling of security.

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Christina Cherry
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