Questions about Dental Fear and Phobia
- Why am I afraid to go to the dentist?
- Does my choice of dentist make a difference?
- Is there anyone that CAN make me less fearful?
- What are the consequences if I just don’t go to the dentist?
- Where can I get more information about the causes of dental phobia?
Answers about Dental Fear and Phobia:
- Why am I afraid to go to the dentist? There are many possible reasons. This subject is treated more thoroughly in Chapter IV.6. I will state here, though, two distinct possibilities. 1. You have been physically harmed at a dentists office. The younger you were when the event occurred, the more likely it is to have a lasting impact. 2. People who have been subjected to any kind of trauma or overwhelming experience are often reluctant to accept the “invasion” of the dentist into their mouth. There are various types of therapy that can help with this, but number one is to have a dentist that understands. But even without a history of trauma, most people consider the mouth a private place, and don’t even want to look into it themselves, let alone having a stranger literally poking around in there! ……………….. BACK to questions
- Does my choice of dentist make a difference? Absolutely! Some dentists, for example, have a physiological understanding of why certain individuals have an extreme fear of going to the dentist. These dentists will be more likely to notice things that other dentists would not (e.g., fear in the patient’s eyes; a stiffening of the patient’s body; a patient holding their breath, etc.). Dentists who have a physiological understanding of these fear responses also know how to respond to these “visual clues”. They will pause and direct the patient’s attention in such a way that the fear or anxiety dissipates and even disappears. If the dentist continues like this, throughout the procedure, the patient is much more likely to leave the dental office, unafraid to go back. Most dentists do not have this kind of physiological understanding and they have no training in how to respond to patients when this excessive fear arises during a dental procedure. So, yes, your choice of dentist does make a difference! ………………… BACK to questions
- Is there anyone that CAN make me less fearful? Yes – depending on the origin of your phobia or reluctance. If it stems from a traumatic experience at the dental office, or from another event, within psychological circles it has long been recognized that Somatic Experiencing is of great help. Your “nervousness” may be a response of your nervous system to a prior experience, which is inappropriate and excessive, much like post-traumatic stress syndrome. It takes time, but this response in your autonomic nervous system can be resolved in a natural way with a skilled therapist………………… BACK to questions
- What are the consequences if I just don’t go to the dentist? Of course, the disease states which are present in the mouth will go unchecked. Periodontal disease will inevitably ensue, as will the decay process on the surfaces of the teeth. Good home oral care can only delay the inevitable. Of course, along with these pathological processes in the mouth can also attend tooth loss, and/or a very unappealing odor. Especially as you age, it is important to pay attention to what is happening in your mouth – as some people are more susceptible to oral disease than others. If you are in the susceptible group, it will be vastly to your advantage to get some professional help and advice…………………BACK to questions
- Where can I get more information about the causes of dental phobia? There has been relatively little written about this subject, most associated with suggested modalities for resolution. In the Chapter (IV.6) on fear and phobia I will provide a more organized presentation of the subject of phobic reactions, and reference one text, and refer you to my personal practice website – as I utilize Somatic Experiencing myself to help my clients in this regard………………… BACK to questions