Fear of Dentists – Dental Phobia
Fear of dentists, dental phobia, also known as dentophobia, odontophobia and dental anxiety is the often extreme fear of dentists, dentistry and receiving dental care.
Dentophobia is an extremely common fear. Fear of dentists can range from mild anxiety to full blown panic attacks.
Around 12% of people in the UK are thought to suffer from extreme dental anxiety, and the British Dental Association says that 25% of the British population suffer from some sort of anxiety when visiting the dentist.
Phobias of needles, blood, and let’s face it just the idea of experiencing pain or discomfort can put many people off visiting the dentist. Indeed people suffering from phobias will go to great lengths to organise their lives so that they do not have to face the object or situation of which they are afraid.
“Your life can become more and more dominated by the precautions you have to take to avoid the things that scare you. You will usually know that there is no real danger, you may feel silly about your fear, but still find that you can’t control it” says the Royal College of Psychiatrists website.
Fear of dentists can affect both adults and children alike. In children this fear can be distressing to both the child and their parents. Not only will a refusal by the child to visit the dentist result in poor dental hygiene, but forcing a child to go to the dentist may cause further trauma and scar the child for life.
Parents can play a hugely important role as positive role models for their children. If a parent is nervous or apprehensive about visiting the dentist, this nervousness will often be transmitted to the child. It is useful to recognise therefore, that treatment for dental phobia is not only extremely beneficial for both adults and children, but also for anxious or phobic parents to avoid these types of fears being passed on.
Using hypnotherapy and hypnotic techniques it is possible to reduce or remove completely any uncomfortable feelings of anxiety and fear. Self-hypnosis exercises can be learned to remain calm and relaxed. It is also possible to use guided visualisation techniques like the ‘Inner Sanctuary’ to take yourself off on a little mental trip while the dentist is working on your teeth. Pain reduction or management techniques can be used if the procedure becomes uncomfortable either during or after a visit to the dentist, without the need for pain killers.
It may first be necessary to identify the root of the fear. Is it a fear of the dentist and what he is doing? Is it the feelings of lack of control and being in the hands of a ‘stranger’ that provokes fear? Is it a fear of needles or other sharp objects? Is it the sound and sensation of the drill? Is it the sight of blood (possibly in very small amounts) that makes you feel afraid?
Hypnotherapy can offer effective and practical solutions to fears involving dentists, needles, blood etc. If you suffer from a fear of visiting the dentist, or the process of dental care then please call me for more information and to arrange an informal meeting, either in person or online using Skype.