12 practical tips
The answer to this question is the prerogative of professional psychologists. As a dentist, it’s not entirely correct for me to give recommendations on this topic. However, looking at the problem from a different angle can be useful. Moreover, I also happened to be in the shoes of a suspicious dentist. And there is an opportunity to share recommendations on overcoming the fear of the dentist on both sides. We will not undertake an academic analysis of the reasons for the emergence of dentophobia, but we will immediately turn to practical advice.
Situation 1. You have never previously treated your teeth.
To one degree or another, we are all afraid of something new - what we have to do for the first time. To leave mom for a few minutes, to stay alone at home, to go down the mountain on a sled, to be vaccinated - such dangers awaited us from childhood. With age, they did not disappear completely - it was scary to drown when trying to learn how to swim, crash when driving in a car, board a plane. Remember how you were afraid of the first date or interview when applying for a job, although even the most devastating results do not directly harm the body. Fear of the unknown is a natural feeling of a person with at least a little imagination. Some overcome it easily; for others, every victory is, without exaggeration, a personal feat.
Find in your biography an episode of successfully overcoming the fear of the unknown. Pay attention to how calmly you are now transferring what you once prepared for the first time with trepidation, but still decided to implement it. For example, swimming on the high seas or public speaking to a large audience.
Situation 2. You have never treated your teeth before, but you heard a lot of “horrors” from those who met with you at the dental office.
Of course, dealing with negative prejudice is much more difficult than simply fearing the unknown. But if you carefully delve into your own memory, you can find events that initially seemed frightening, but were successfully resolved subsequently. Remember how scary it was to lie on the edge for the first time (after all, “a gray top will come and bite on a barrel”), or after a couple of decades to leave your own child for the first time unattended.
With regard to dentistry, it should be noted that many negative reviews about dental treatment are associated with the low quality of treatment in general and of pain relief in particular. Novocaine, used for many decades as the only anesthetic, had a rather weak analgesic effect. The lidocaine that replaced him was more effective, but not every patient also relieved pain during treatment. Moreover, people with experience in dental treatment without any anesthesia still live in the world. What is surprising - not all of them are elderly. There are places in our country where such inhuman methods were practiced in the 21st century. But, of course, to avoid such problems it is enough to conduct at least an elementary selection of medical institutions. The unsuccessful dental experience of acquaintances is primarily their frivolous approach to the choice of a doctor.
Try to learn from the mistakes of others and take a more responsible approach to selecting a specialist. The lower the cost of treatment, the higher your risk of repeating the sad experience of acquaintances (in an expensive clinic you can also encounter troubles, but the chances are much lower).
At the first appointment, it is better to limit yourself to just a consultation - look at the doctor, get used to it, ask all your questions. Be sure to warn about your fears and fears. Note the doctor’s reaction, his degree of readiness for an individual approach (responsiveness and predictability). If psychological contact bothers you with something, it’s best not to experiment and look for another dentist.
If you have several problems in the oral cavity - begin to eliminate them with the most uncomplicated. The easiest way is with professional hygiene. It is required by most patients, has virtually no complications and is relatively painless. Treating minor caries, a wedge-shaped defect or gingivitis will also prepare you for future complex interventions as conveniently as possible.
Situation 3. You previously treated your teeth, and personal experience was unsuccessful.
In this case, the solution is the most difficult to find, but not everything is so hopeless. To begin with, you should identify all the main causes that formed a negative image of the dentist in your mind. The most common of them:
A) pain while taking,
B) pain after taking
C) an unsuccessful result of treatment (short service life of fillings, crowns, gingival inflammation, cyst formation and much more),
D) the occurrence of complications,
D) the surroundings of the dental office (buzzing drill, the smell of drugs, type of instruments, etc.).
Let us examine these factors in more detail.
Situation 3-A. It hurt to treat your teeth earlier.
As mentioned earlier (and in some clinics continue even now), anesthetics of previous generations - novocaine and lidocaine were used. This is the most likely cause of pain during treatment.
Ask for the most effective anesthesia. Among local anesthetics, this is currently articaine (4% solution with adrenaline in a ratio of 1: 100,000). Commercial names: "Ultracain", "Ubistezin", "Septanest", "Alfacain" and others.
Last time anesthesia could be ineffective due to the erroneous technique of its implementation. There are varying degrees of complexity of local anesthesia techniques. For the teeth of the upper jaw (especially the anterior ones), achieving good analgesia is much easier.
If you have a choice, it is better to start treatment with the upper teeth.
If the best anesthetic is not effective even when treating teeth in the upper jaw, then you don’t need to torture yourself - look for dentistry using anesthesia, and even better - sedation. Sedation is effective in all cases.
Situation 3-B. The treatment itself in the dentist's chair was painless, but the subsequent postoperative period was extremely unpleasant.
The pain, swelling, temperature, loss of strength for several days after dental surgery of some patients scares more than the reception itself. But these problems arise only with sufficiently invasive interventions (complex removal, bone grafting, etc.).
You should warn of difficult situations in advance, without bringing them to light. Treat teeth in the early stages of the disease. To do this, regularly see your dentist.
If all the time is lost, then, ceteris paribus, choose a doctor who focuses on less invasive intervention. To do this, you need to delve into the details of the operation, but there is no other way to figure out and make the right choice.
Situation 3-B. Previous treatment was painless, but stupid.
Here the patient no longer feels fear, but despair. And worries that again all efforts will be wasted. You can overcome it only with a positive treatment experience. Again, a thorough selection of a qualified specialist is necessary.
Ask your doctor about the predictions of all treatment options. Do not settle for questionable procedures (especially expensive ones), the probability of a successful result being below 50%. Do not try to “save” your teeth at all costs. If, according to the doctor’s forecast, the tooth does not last even three years, there is no point in throwing all the money to save it. Be critical of overly optimistic forecasts by the dentist. “20 years of warranty” or “all life will stand by” are very implausible promises.
3G situation Dental treatment in the past was overshadowed by some kind of memorable complication.
Overcoming such a nuisance with positive actions (and even more so eliminating its influence) is an extremely difficult task. The main difficulty is that most likely your guilt in the occurrence of this complication is absolutely none. And, therefore, you have to rely completely on the skill of the doctor, luck and higher powers. There are almost no opportunities to control the process yourself, choosing the most careful tactics. In the same helpless situation are the passengers of the airliner during the flight. Entrusting their life to the pilot, they voluntarily completely surrender themselves to his submission for several hours. If you are not afraid to fly on airplanes, then the dental chair should not be more terrifying for you. If dentophobia is combined with aerophobia, you should still admit that controlling the actions of a dentist is still a little easier than a pilot. At least you can always get up and leave.
Explain to the dentist how even indirect control of treatment is important for your peace of mind. Ask him to talk as much as possible about the upcoming manipulations, comment on the actions performed and, most importantly, warn about any changes during the process. Ideally, if important new circumstances are identified during treatment, the doctor should stop, inform you, and suggest reviewing the treatment plan (or wait for consent to continue acting as before). Unfortunately, this cannot always be done. But there are far from few opportunities for such an option for the joint work of the dentist and patient. Most often they are ignored by the doctor, and the patient is embarrassed to remind about them once again.
Situation 3-D. You are already afraid of one look, sound, smell of a dental office.
Associated associations are secondary. As soon as the main causes of fear are leveled, the auxiliary ones should disappear. If they are so significant that they themselves become an insurmountable barrier to treatment, it will be better to get used to their safe effect on someone else.
Ask to be present in the office when treating your (more cold-blooded) acquaintance. Sit in the corner, look, listen, appreciate the calmness of the other patient and the care of the doctor. Get used to the sound of a working drill or the type of instruments, the lulling voice of a doctor, or the satisfied smile of a patient who has finished treatment - and it will become easier for you to go this way yourself.
But before completing the article, I want to pay attention to one more circumstance. Before applying the proposed recommendations, you must ask yourself the question: “Do I want to get rid of the fear of dental treatment?”
The question is far from formal. Paradoxical as it sounds, but many people do not want to get rid of stomatophobia. Not realizing it. Such citizens consider themselves highly sensitive natures, exceptional persons, towering above the crowd with their sophistication. They require special attention and care, which will immediately decrease if suddenly the fear of a doctor is overcome. Which can cause much greater psychological discomfort. People with a fine mental organization often understand this instinctively and in every possible way hold on to dentophobia as a more preferable straw.
Other possible reasons for the negative answer to a similar question is the reluctance to spend time, energy and money on dental treatment. To admit to themselves (and even more so to others) that they avoid the dental office due to their own laziness or greed is a rather difficult task. The fear of the dentist is a much more “noble” reason, it’s not a shame to tell others about it. In this way, internal discomfort is reduced, and attempts to overcome fear also become meaningless. An article can help only those who sincerely want to stop being afraid of a dental office.
And one more recommendation ... or rather a request.
When going to see a doctor, try to be a little friendlier. It is clear that you yourself are not easy and not up to the emission of universal joy. You need help and support first of all yourself. But do not forget that the dentist is also a person. The sight of an infinitely gloomy patient who has taken up a circular defense and with all his appearance demonstrating that his main immediate goal is not to surrender to an armed enemy in a white coat, and the doctor has little good mood. Try to minimize your hostility to the next representative of the estate of the healers (even if you have good complaints because of the obvious fault of his previous colleagues). The chance to start from scratch is already a good start, and a small step forward can even become a catalyst for the development of excellent relations and achieve excellent results. The easiest step is a smile. Share your smile with the doctor at the first meeting - and she will come back to you more than once.
What is detophobia - just fear or illness?
Before visiting the dental office everyone is nervous.
Someone simply experiences mild nervousness and discomfort, and someone is panicky afraid of even the thought of visiting a dentist, and the mention of a drill causes such a person to be hysterical. It is in the latter case that dentophobia takes place (the terms odontophobia and stomatophobia are also synonymous with this concept) or panic fear of a visit to the dentist.
Such a serious pathology should be distinguished from the usual fear of dentists that almost any person experiences in a dentist's chair. It manifests itself in bouts of uncontrolled fear, hysteria up to the loss of consciousness. People suffering from hypertension may experience hypertensive crises or angina attacks. Such patients are usually not in contact, and even the most experienced doctor cannot find a common language with them.
A pronounced fear of dentists - a phobia is not very common. According to statistics, about 5-7% of patients suffer from dentophobia
Most often, people with dentophobia go to the dentist only in advanced cases. For example, when a tooth hurts so much that painkillers do not help, or a destroyed tooth interferes with normal conversation and full eating.
Why am I afraid to go to the dentist or where do the fears come from?
The very first and most important moment that allows you to overcome your fear of dentists is understanding of the cause such a problem. Each of those suffering from dentophobia has its own, but in general, the factors provoking phobia are quite similar.
- Extremely negative previous experience dental treatment. Representatives of the older generation will surely remember the “Soviet standards” for the provision of dental care: a roaring drill, minimal anesthesia (or even its absence), an unpleasant aftertaste in the mouth after arsenic. Moreover, the treatment of one tooth most often took place in several visits, which also did not give patients positive emotions. All this contributed to the development and strengthening of fear of the dentist, and subsequently - the formation of severe phobias.
- At the present stage, dentistry offers patients a huge number of new services, many of which have foreign and obscure names (for example, Opalescence, White light or Zoom). It is this suspense leads to the fact that a person is scared to go to the dentist. Attempts to find information on the Internet can often exacerbate phobia due to negative reviews and comments by “experts” that frighten patients on dental resources.
- Many are afraid to go to the dentist. due to bad teeth. This fear is often fueled by some doctors who criticize the patient’s attitude to their own health. The result is a vicious circle: the worse the condition of the teeth, the more pronounced the phobia.
- Some women are afraid go to the dentist man. This is due to the fact that women are embarrassed to look funny with their mouths wide open. In addition, a visit to the dentist’s office implies a restriction in the use of decorative cosmetics, which also confuses some ladies.
- If the child is afraid to treat teeth, in some cases the cause of this phenomenon should be sought in the behavior of parents. Moms and dads (who sometimes suffer from dentophobia) tell their children that if they behave badly, the doctor will pull or drill their teeth. This is done so that the child sat quietly in line in front of the dentist's office. As a result, babies begin to be afraid of even the simplest and most harmless dental procedures. And to overcome such a fear, inherent in childhood, does not work either a teenager or an adult.
In addition to the reasons listed above, dentophobia can be caused mental illness or low threshold of pain sensitivity. Sometimes a similar problem occurs during pregnancywhen the expectant mother is afraid because the treatment may harm her baby.
How to stop being afraid of a dentist?
How not to be afraid of a dentist? This is a critical issue for a person suffering from dentophobia. It becomes especially acute when it is no longer possible to delay a visit to the dentist.
The advice of a psychologist will tell you how to not be afraid of a dentist and overcome dentophobia forever.
- Primarily, необходимо разобраться в том, чего именно вы боитесь. Для этого можно составить таблицу, которая поможет определиться с видом страха. In the first column, you must enter a possible variant of the phobia, and put a figure from 1 to 4 in front of each item, where the four will correspond to the concept of “insanely afraid”, the three will correspond to “very afraid”, the two will correspond to moderate fear, and the unit will not “ I'm completely afraid. ” For example:
|Fear option||Fear Level 1 to 4|
|I'm afraid to remove the tooth||4|
|I'm afraid to drill my teeth||3|
|I'm afraid of an injection at the dentist||2|
|I'm afraid to remove the nerve from the tooth||2|
|I'm afraid of anesthesia||1|
|I'm afraid to pull out a wisdom tooth||4|
|I'm afraid to have a dental implant||2|
|I'm afraid to remove a tooth with a cyst||4|
|I'm afraid to remove tartar||1|
|I'm afraid to treat front teeth||2|
It is necessary to conduct such a test in a calm environment, honestly writing out all your fears. The second step follows analyze the resulting list and try to figure out what exactly scares you in each particular case and what could cause this phenomenon.
- I'm afraid to pull out a tooth because I'm afraid of pain. Once I had a tooth removed without anesthesia, and it was very painful.
- I am afraid to remove tartar, because I am ashamed because I really started to brush my teeth. Last time, the dentist read me notations for a long time and reproached me that I did not monitor my health at all.
- I’m afraid when they drill their teeth, because I don’t like the sound of a working drill. In childhood, parents always scared me with her.
Often, such a simple technique is enough to get rid of the fear of a dentist. If it’s impossible to deal with the problem yourself, then you can visit the doctor with this list who is planning to undergo treatment and get advice on your fears and their reality.
Often overcoming the fear of dentists helps preliminary consultation with the dentist. Most clinics offer their patients the opportunity to talk with a surgeon or therapist, at an appointment which discusses existing dental problems and discusses ways to resolve them. The doctor can ask all questions of interest, as well as ask for clarification regarding all diagnostic and therapeutic measures. Anesthesia is also discussed, as well as possible alternative therapeutic modalities. A trusting relationship with a doctor largely determines success in the fight against dentophobia. If the patient trusts the attending physician, then he will more quickly relax in the dental chair and ceases to feel fear.
Do not delay visit to the dental office. Over time, fear may not become less, but the condition of the teeth will be much worse.
Before you see a doctor, try have a good rest and sleep. The night before, you can take glycine or use folk remedies with a sedative effect (infusion of valerian or motherwort). Before planning a visit to the dentist, do not plan any important events that may become additional stress.
How to overcome fear of a dentist - a view from the other side
Dentophobia is not only a problem for patients. This phenomenon also applies to doctors who must decide what to do with a person who needs to undergo some kind of medical manipulation (for example, remove a nerve or pull out a decayed tooth), but he is afraid to sit in a dental chair to death.
A good surgeon, therapist or dental technician will first conduct a conversation with the patient to find out the level of his fear, and also listen to what specifically worries the person and what his phobias are connected with. He will explain in detail what this or that procedure is called and what its essence is.
In general, modern dentistry is aimed at minimizing stress in people when visiting a dental office. To do this, they widely use:
- Background from light classical music or natural noises that contribute to relaxation and soothing.
- Some clinics are equipped with video glasses, thanks to which the patient can be distracted by the time of the dentist’s viewing of an interesting film.
- In special cases, dental treatment under anesthesia is used.
Cases of severe dentophobia are corrected by a psychotherapist using various therapeutic techniques.
Dentophobia in children
In childhood, dentophobia is much more common than in adults. This is due to the lability of children's emotions, the lack of previous experience with visits to the dentist. This phobia is especially difficult for babies aged 2 to 5 years, because at this age children are still not able to control their emotions and actions, they are poorly accessible to the contact and can not fully tell about their feelings and fears.
In most cases, children's dentophobia is caused by the first unsuccessful trip to the dentist.
Children's dentophobia has the same reasons as the adult version of fear:
- fear of the unknown
- fear of pain
- negative previous experience visiting not only a dentist, but also a doctor of another specialization,
- improper parental behavior.
How to save a child from fear?
If the child is afraid of the dentist, then most likely the reason will be in an unpleasant first contact with the doctor of this specialty. It is the first visit to the dentist that will form in a small person his further attitude to dentistry.
Overcoming dentophobia will contribute to:
- Maximum doctor contact with a young patient. The child’s level of fear will significantly decrease if a small excursion is carried out before treatment, during which you can show the office, talk about tools, show pictures about teeth and their treatment.
- Application of anesthesia in the treatment of teeth.
- Using modern silent therapeutic techniques. The absence of unpleasant sensations, the sound of a drill, as well as the short duration of the procedures are the main enemies of children's fear.
- Using multimedia devicesthanks to which a small patient can listen to pleasant music, an audio fairy tale or watch a favorite cartoon and escape from the treatment procedure itself and the negative emotions associated with it.
- Proper parental behavior. If mom or dad in front of the dentist’s office feel nervousness and anxiety, then this feeling is transmitted to the child, and he instinctively begins to be afraid. Sometimes phobia can be enhanced by the innocuous at first glance phrases “don't be afraid”, “it won’t hurt”, “it’s not scary”, which are pronounced with the purpose of calming and which may have the opposite effect. Parental behavior should be natural in front of the dentist’s office, and it’s best not to make a big event out of the visit. This is necessary so that a child from childhood feels that caring for the health of his teeth is a common thing.
Fortunately, most babies adapt quickly and stop being afraid. With the correct behavior of the doctor and parents for girls and boys of young age, treating milk teeth, and subsequently molars, will be an interesting and exciting adventure.
Interesting facts about the terrible
Are you afraid to treat your teeth? If so, then we have specially gathered for you the most common fears related to dentistry, as well as facts that allow you to overcome them.
- I'm afraid to treat my teeth during pregnancy - it can harm the baby. This is one of the most dangerous fears, because any rotten tooth, even if it does not hurt, is a source of chronic infection, which can easily penetrate a child and cause serious congenital health problems. In the ideal case, teeth should be treated even at the stage of pregravid preparation, but if the woman is already pregnant and she needs dental treatment, then it is absolutely impossible to refuse it. Modern dentistry has tools and materials that are absolutely safe for both the health of the mother and the baby.
- I'm afraid of pain at the dentist, but I'm even more afraid of treating my teeth with an injection - what if he himself will be painful or will not work. This fear originates from times when anesthesia was extremely imperfect. Previously, the usual Novocaine or Lidocaine were used for pain relief, which required a sufficiently large dosage, did not act immediately, and the duration of their effect was very short. Modern drugs, such as Articaine (as part of Ultracaine, Ubestesin, Septanest) and Mepivacaine (included in the Scandonest drug) require minimal dosages for treatment, have high efficiency and long-lasting effect. In addition, they are safe and can be used in people with various pathologies of the cardiovascular system, and even in children or pregnant women.
- I'm afraid to remove the nerve from the tooth, and it hurts. Ignoring the symptoms of pulpitis can lead to serious consequences, up to the loss of a tooth. Depilation or removal of the dental nerve is one of the stages of the treatment of such a pathology. Until recently, such a procedure was stretched for several days and was extremely painful: the doctor opened the tooth canals and the cavity of the root of the tooth, put arsenic in them, put a temporary filling and released the patient until the next visit. In 2-3 days, the tooth nerve was supposed to die, and this process was often accompanied by excruciating pains that could not be removed even with strong painkillers. Today, such a procedure is not necessary. Modern local anesthetics allow you to remove the nerve within 30 minutes and without the slightest discomfort.
- I want to whiten my teeth, but I'm afraid that the whitening procedure is unsafe for enamel. Fear of treating tooth darkening with Air flow, Opalescence, White Light or Zoom methods has appeared among the population not very long ago. Many people want to give their teeth a white shade, but are afraid that chemically active substances will affect their teeth. Modern whitening technologies are safe when the procedure is carried out correctly. In order to get a guaranteed positive result, you should choose a clinic with extensive experience that has modern equipment, certified supplies and only positive feedback from real customers.
- It is necessary to treat caries, but I'm afraid to drill my teeth. The preparation or drilling of teeth using a noisy drill is one of the horrors of Soviet dentistry, which many remember. And it is precisely because of this sound that many delay a visit to the dentist. But modern clinics can offer alternative options: chemical and ultrasonic preparation of teeth. Such techniques are absolutely silent, do not cause unpleasant or painful sensations. They are also effective and allow the doctor to fully clean the carious cavities and fill in the defects of the dental tissue.
- The doctor insists on prosthetics of the front tooth with a dental implant, and I am afraid of such a procedure. Dental implantation or implantation of artificial dental root into the bone tissue is one of the most modern procedures that allow you to restore lost teeth. Implants have high aesthetics, they are durable (they will not have to be replaced every 5-10 years) and fill the dentition as fully as possible. Implantation technologies are developed very accurately and operations are always carried out after computer simulation - i.e. the approach to each patient is always individual. In addition, implantation is carried out only under anesthesia and after the engraftment process it is not felt at all.
As you can see from the article, the fear of dentists is a very common phenomenon that can and should be combated. The main thing is not to let everything go by chance and not to forget that keeping your teeth healthy is much easier if you regularly visit a dentist and follow all his recommendations.