Dental treatments are painless nowadays, thanks to the modern techniques of anaesthesia, but still many people are fearful of receiving dental treatment or sometimes even of the dentist. Most people develop this fear before even experiencing the treatment or meeting the dentist.
Why do people have dental fear?
A traumatic experience in childhood, a painful dental experience or embarrassment might have an influence on the patients, who therefor avoid regular check-ups and only visit the dentist when they have a dental emergency.
These cases often require a more complex and expensive treatment and might reinforce their fear in dentistry.
The causes and types of dental fear
One of the most common causes is clearly the fear for pain, but many patients tend to fear the sound of dental drills, the sight of the needle or even the dentist. Others fear dental impressions and many feel ashamed of their condition. With slight risk of exaggeration you could say there are as many different problems as there are patients and it can only be treated if we know the background.
There is often a lack of knowledge behind the causes of fear, which is completely rational; a patient cannot be as well informed as a specialist in the field.
Causes related to traumatic experiences in childhood are deep rooted, so a friendly and calming smile from the dentist might not be enough to convince the patient.
It is therefore important to build trust between patient and dentist. The dentist must be calm and caring and the patient must maintain proper oral hygiene and go on regular check-ups.
Why shouldn’t we fear a dental treatment?
The answer is obvious, since the dental treatments of today are painless and safe, so the patient has no real reason to be afraid. It is much worse to postpone the examination and wait until the condition needs urgent treatment.
In practise it looks different and it is therefore important to be prepared. The best method to deal with the fear of pain is for instance to be determined to put this fear aside and experience what we really feel during a root canal treatment or tooth filling.
What we really feel is nothing. Not even in case of implantation or oral surgery. If the area is inflamed it might be sensitive, but only then. But as said before, this is the case if someone ignores the symptoms and if oral hygiene is neglected.
The sound of dental drills is difficult to ignore, but once we are able to plan ahead, we can take music and earplugs with us and get through these unpleasant moments. The sight of needle can easiest be avoided if we close our eyes, even though this method might sound a bit rudimentary.
We might think that it easy to deal with embarrassment, but it goes with breaking through mental barriers, which is at least as difficult as dealing with fear linked to childhood trauma. In these cases we can only count on ourselves and it is important to realize that postponing the problem only leads to embarrassment in front of the dentist and also our friends or acquaintances.