Many adults know that visiting the dentist is important but often ignore early warning signs such as toothache, sore gums, a loose filling or a chipped tooth. One reason for not attending the dentist is fear. While this is a common fear, avoiding the dentist even if you have pain can be a sign of dental phobia.
Difference between a fear and phobia
Fear is a natural response when you are faced with danger but phobias are an exaggerated reaction to a situation. For example, being scared of heights is normal. Refusing a promotion because your new office is on the tenth floor is an exaggerated response.
Phobias are common in people who have anxiety. Some phobias such as being scared of snakes do not impact daily life. But a dental phobia could mean you avoid emergency treatment such as a gum infection. This will affect your dental health and could even impact your general wellbeing.
How can I overcome dental phobia?
An effective strategy to overcome phobia gradually is to experience your fear in a controlled and safe way. This means exposing yourself to that fear in repeated experiences to build up confidence. This could mean making a short consult appointment for your first dental visit and then having longer treatment appointments when you are more comfortable. Some people find it useful to take a friend to support them.
How we can help?
By letting you know what to expect at each visit and listening to your concerns. At your first visit, we listen to you and find out what aspects of dental treatment worry you. We provide you with detailed information about what treatment would help you and can even show you photographs of your teeth. We will plan treatment that you feel comfortable with and support you in your decisions about your dental health.
What happens if you do not overcome your fear?
If you are always putting off your check up appointment, consider what condition you want your teeth to be in. Although you may not experience any dental pain at all, you may still be harming your long term dental health if you neglect regular check ups.