Dental assistant explains reasons behind phobia of dentists

By PAIGE MORINI

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When it comes time to go to the dentist, some are fearless, and some want to run for the hills and hide. Here are some tips for the next visit to the dentist to help overcome dentist phobia.

Dental health is a very important aspect of the overall physical health of the body. The state of the mouth affects more than just the teeth that may be rotting away inside of it. Negative experiences at the dentist can cause enough fear and anxiety to cause some to only go to the dentist when absolutely necessary.

Dental assistant Barbara Martinez says she has worked on many patients who have unimaginable fears coming in for a simple routine cleaning. Modern technology and advances in science has made going to the dentist a more pleasant experience, but many people may not know this.

Why People Fear the Dentist

“There are many reason people have a fear of going to the dentist,” Martinez said, “For the most part, they fear the idea of pain.”

Barbara J. Martinez explains the reasons behind the phobia of dentists. Photo by Barbara J. Martinez.
Barbara J. Martinez explains the reasons behind the phobia of dentists. Photo by Barbara J. Martinez.

Dentists have developed a bad reputation associated with pain. The older generation of today’s society specifically associates dentists with discomfort. In the past, the industry had little standards and the negative experiences associated the dentists themselves to not being compassionate regarding their patients’ pain. Therefore, the fear of dentist grew rapidly.

Many patients lying in the dentist chair feel like they have a lack of control, and this can create a lot of anxiety associated with going to the dentist.

Some dentists assume that each patient has the same threshold when it comes to pain. While you are undergoing dental work, you lose the ability to freely communicate the discomfort you may be feeling to the dentist, and this can create a negative association with going to the dentist.

If a fear is developed of going to visit the dentist, then some choose simply not to go unless it is necessary. This can create a whole range of problems that may provoke the fear of dentists that is already set in. If a regular dental visit is not in the calendar, when you eventually do go to the dentist there might be a lot more maintenance that needs to be done rather than just the routine cleaning because of the neglect of going to the dentist.

“Think of it as if you never maintained your car and all of a sudden after a few years you went into the auto shop just expecting a routine oil change,” Martinez said. “In reality, you will need new tires, new filters, new belts, etc. Not only will it take time and multiple visits to do all of these things, but the cost will be high as well.”

Overcome Your Fear

Go to the Dentist

  • It is recommended to go to the dentist every six months to keep up on your oral health. If you go get a routine cleaning every six months, there should be no major maintenance that will pop up.

Find the Right Dentist for You

  • Find a dentist that you are comfortable with, and that you can easily communicate with. It is important to express your fears to your dentist, but to also make sure that they listen and adhere to these fears. Find a dentist that will do quality work, make you feel comfortable, and conform to your own personal needs.

If You Need Anesthesia, Take It

  • Pain tolerance differs from person to person. Dentists have the available technology to help tolerate pain that you might feel. Utilize the availability of local anesthesia if extreme discomfort is felt while having a routine cleaning. Feeling pain for maintaining good oral health is not necessary.

Have Dental Insurance

  • Have dental insurance to help with cost and most important to be able to use anesthesia if necessary, to keep the experience pleasant.

Realizing why the fear of the dentist is there and then learning to overcome it can make going to the dentist a much more pleasant experience for anyone. Modern technology and dental offices with good dentists, dental assistants, and staff can help and are all good steps in the direction to eliminate anxiety over dental visits.

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