Odontophobia, also known as dental phobia, is the fear of dentists and dental treatment.
Dental phobia can range from slight unease to a paralysing fear that keeps you entirely away from the dental office.
Unfortunately, avoiding the dentist is terrible for both your oral and general health.
In fact, dental anxiety itself is not bad for your dental health, but the appointments you miss due to dental phobia become a significant problem.
Every dental professional wants their patients to be relaxed and calm. For one thing, patient comfort makes a dentist’s job a whole lot easier.
Does that mean that calm patients get better treatment than anxious ones? No.
But when a patient is concerned, another level of difficulty is added to the dentist’s work, whereas the calmer you are the more you’ll optimise the outcome of your dentist’s efforts.
At EK Dental surgery we want you to be calm, collected, and happy!
Fast facts about dental anxiety
Here are some things to know about dental anxiety to help you put your situation into perspective:
You’re not the only one
According to the University of Adelaide, high dental fear affects approximately 15% of Australian adults and about 10% of children.
In some sub-groups of the population, such as middle-aged women, the percentage of high dental fear may be as 33%! Dental phobia affects about 5% of the Australian population.
The prevalence of high dental anxiety varies by a number of possible patient characteristics, but irrespective of characteristics, any Australian might fall prey to dental anxiety.
There are four common causes of anxiety
- Fear of pain
- Feeling of helplessness in the dental chair
- Embarrassment at current dental hygiene
- Bad Past Experiences at the Dentist
So, it’s not abnormal to have some dental phobia. The important thing is that you are able to beat it!
How to Beat Dental Anxiety
EK Dental Surgery has a range of suggestions for beating dental anxiety – many of which depend on the cause of your anxiety. But we have three general approaches to help you battle dental anxiety.
1) Figure Out the Source – What is the reason you fear the dentist? Did you have a bad experience when you were a child?
Are you worried that dental treatments might be too painful? Are you afraid of visiting the dental office because you expect the dentist is going to lay on a guilt trip?
Whatever the source of your fear, find it and it can be addressed.
2) Talk to Someone – Once you have identified the source of your anxiety, discuss it with someone whose knowledge you trust, like one of our EK Dental Surgery staff.
Make sure it’s someone who doesn’t have dental phobia themselves. That would be exploring caves with someone who has claustrophobia!
3) Visit the EK Dental Surgery office beforehand – The last step in the process is to drop by and visit us– even if only to discuss your dental fear.
Don’t worry, our trained and sympathetic team has seen every kind of patient possible, including sensitive ones. And we can help!
We will explain our procedures, talk about how they have changed since the last time you visited, offer you a longer appointment if you feel the need to go slowly, and reassure you about how we can improve dental health, no matter what its condition. Sometimes just visiting a dental office can reduce your fear of it.
If you have specific dental fears, we can recommend approaches from among the many we have. We have pre-appointment recommendations:
- Eat high protein and avoid caffeine in food or drink
- Get plenty of rest
- Schedule your appointment in the early-morning to cut down on ‘worrying’ time
- Do something relaxing just before your appointment (yoga, massage, or even just a long walk)
We have strategies for the course of the appointment as well:
- Distraction- videos, music, chat with staff
- Signalling – arrange a gesture that tells the dentist to slow down or stop
- Controlled Breathing – breathe slowly and regularly through the nose
- Visualisation – imagine yourself someplace you really love, like the park, or the seashore
- Repetition – repeat a calming phrase or idea
If none of these options work, we may apply sedation, which is also provided in invasive treatments. Sedation ranges from pills to general anaesthesia, and it is used to help you remain relaxed and comfortable.
The point is, we have a lot of ways to help you; you just need to take the first step and come to visit us!
Reasons To Smile At EK Dental Surgery!
EK Dental Surgery offers a wide variety of preventative and cosmetic dental procedures for children, seniors, and everyone in between!
We are a team of dedicated Glen Waverley dentists and staff working to provide the best care possible. At EK Dental we can help you achieve tip-top dental health and a movie-star smile!
EK Dental Surgery is conveniently located on Springvale Road in Glen Waverley.
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Call us on (03) 9887 8787 or visit us at 230 Springvale Road in Glen Waverley.