There are several common misconceptions about dental fear that need to be cleared up. The truth is that a phobia of dental procedures is not the same as a phobia of dentistry, and is more accurately described as a form of generalized fear. A phobia of dental procedures can occur for many reasons, but all of them share certain characteristics.
Dental phobia is an extreme fear of dental procedures and dentists that range in degree from paralyzing to mildly anxiety-producing. Many patients who experience a phobia have problems with their social relationships and suffer a great deal of anxiety around other people or even animals.
General anxiety and phobias are very different in that anxiety is caused by a perceived threat. Generalized fear, however, is caused by the fear of a stimulus and the onset of a specific phobia. General anxiety can cause the sufferer to suffer from excessive sweating, and can also make a person extremely irritable. Phobias cause fear of an imagined or real situation that has no relation to the patient or what is happening in the patient’s life.
When someone has a phobia they may avoid dental procedures or any situation where they believe they will feel uncomfortable. This fear can be so severe that they become unable to enjoy many of the things that they normally might enjoy, including going to the dentist. Most of the time, people who suffer from dental phobias develop their condition because they were once terrified of tooth extraction.
The best way to prevent experiencing dental phobias is for the patient to learn to accept dental procedures as part of the normal course of health care. It is important for the patient to have regular checkups with their dentist in order to monitor any changes that may be taking place in their health. Patients should also be sure to visit a dentist at least twice a year, and allow themselves enough time to feel comfortable and relaxed before any procedure takes place. If a patient suffers from fear, they should avoid certain situations.
One of the most common misconceptions is that a person with a phobia will not be able to get the cosmetic dental work that they desire. This is not true at all. If a patient feels that they are undergoing unnecessary procedures, they should be prepared to go to the dentist immediately and let them know that they feel uncomfortable and need a change of routine. In order to minimize the chance of having to endure a dental procedure that will make them feel uncomfortable or fearful, it may be necessary for a patient to have a specialist perform the procedure or to go go to a sedation dentist.