It’s probably fair to say that very few of us reading this actually enjoy going to see the dentist. Despite this though, the vast majority of us go at least a couple of times a year for our check ups and occasional treatment. Of course though, there are those people who simply can not attend because of their phobia of the dentist.
In fact, this phobia probably exists to a greater or lesser degree in most of us but with a bit of effort, we do go, however much we are dreading it. But is this phobia rational and can we do anything about it?
Well, a phobia by its definition is not rational and in nearly all cases, the fear is worse than the actual reality. However, there is something about dental phobia which makes it one of the more understandable ones. I discussed this with a professional dentist a while back who said that he felt that a large part of the fear comes from the fact that the dentist works on the area which is closest to most of our senses; that is our sight, hearing and taste. All of these are literally within inches of our teeth. If our teeth were for example, at the end of our feet, he felt that the phobia would not be there.
This is an interesting point and the fact the dentist is so close to our face when he performs his procedure that we sometimes also hold our breath which can cause even more anxiety.
There are ways though that, most people can overcome their fear. The most obvious one is to talk to the dentist. You may be surprised how sympathetic and helpful they are; after all, they encounter this on a daily basis. Sometimes just being open and vocalising our fears can help us to overcome them.
Others have found that meditation or other relaxation techniques work well in reducing stress or products that contain valerian or possibly even Bach flower remedies can also be effective although some may argue that this is the placebo effect, but if it is and it works then all is good.
For those whose fear is too strong though, it may be possible to get medication from your doctor, or alternatively, ask your dentist about the possibility of conscious sedation. This is usually administered by the dentist in Burton or wherever you are and allows the patient to be fully conscious during the procedure but in an almost dream like state in which time passes quickly. This is probably one of the most effective methods for those with severe phobia. It is important though to allow for the effects of this and not go back to work and also make sure you have someone with you to accompany you home as you will feel quite drowsy afterwards.
Tony Hodgson overcame his fear of visiting the dentist only last year after many years of enduring toothache rather than make an effort to overcome his fears.