Sedation dentistry isn’t only used to ensure a pain-free procedure — it can also be used in certain instances to help with dental phobia. However, dentophobia is one of those conditions that people like to self-diagnose. There’s a big difference between not looking forward to a root canal (who does?) and having a genuine phobia of dentistry. Dentophobia is a very real, diagnosable fear that can prevent sufferers from obtaining the care and routine checkups they need in order to ensure they’re as healthy as possible.
However, dentophobia has many categories and degrees. If you believe you genuinely suffer from this disorder, therapy can help — but so can finding a dentist who understands these fears and will work with you. Here are a few of the actual fears that dentophobia may encompass:
1. Fear of the actual dentist
Some people have a phobia of dental procedures, dentists and or both. Fear of the dentist might develop for many reasons, including a bad past experience. This fear can grow when you’re facing a dental surgery and need to see an endodontist instead of your regular dentist. A warm chairside manner and proper sedation can make a huge difference.
2. Fear of numbness
Some people are afraid of the numbness that dentistry provides and fear trouble breathing or gagging. This fear is unfounded, since proper sedation dentistry and monitoring prevents breathing issues (but then again, phobias aren’t based in reality). Some forms of sedation dentistry don’t have that numbing feeling, and finding the right solution with your dentist is paramount.
3. Fear of pain
Dentists prevent pain, they don’t cause it. However, partially depending on your age, an uncomfortable or painful dental experience from your youth might still be making you fearful. If you’re especially sensitive, customizing sedation dentistry can help alleviate this fear.
4. Fear of needles
Needle phobia is different from dentophobia, but of course there’s some overlap. A good dentist has tricks for addressing this phobia that include plenty of topical numbing gels and ensuring the patient doesn’t see the needle.
5. Fear of smells and sounds
Just like with arachnophobia, most people who are afraid of spiders don’t think the spiders will actually hurt them — they just can’t stand the thought of those eight-legged creatures crawling on them. The same is true of dental drills or fluoride smells. Drills can sound scary, but sedation dentistry can help relieve those immediate fears and provide a less stressful experience.
At Rocky Mountain Endodontics, we specialize in working with patients with or without the fear of dentists or dental procedures. Give us a call to learn more.