Why Are Patients Afraid of the Dentist

Why Are Patients Afraid of the Dentist

There are many terms to classify the idea of dental phobia; it can be known as dental fear, dental anxiety, dentist phobia, odontophobia, or dentophobia. They all mean the same thing: an intense fear of visiting the dentist and receiving dental care.

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Many patients are afraid of the dentist for many different reasons. It is estimated that seventy-five percent of Americans experience some sort of fear surrounding going to a dentists office. Of that 75%, five or ten percent have a strong enough fear to be considered a real phobia that can be detrimental to their health.

What Causes Dentophobia?

In most cases, dentophobia is unfortunately caused by traumatic experience during a prior dental visit.

These experiences can date as far back as childhood for some, while for others it could have been the only time they’ve ever been to the dentist. Things like complications during dental care, terrible chairside manner or painful treatments can cause patients to have a fear that it will be repeated every time they step foot in a dental office.

The old saying “leaves a bad taste in their mouth” applies in this case, almost literally. If a dentist has been mean or unprofessional, it can cause a patient to feel as though that is how all their appointments will go, regardless of whether or not they find a new dentist.

Why are patients afraid of the dentist

If a patient has a traumatic experience with a doctor in general - even a primary care medical doctor - they can potentially have anxiety about seeing a dentist, as well. Mass media can create a bad wrap for dentists as well; a friend having a bad experience, or even a movie or show depicting a bad experience can cause someone with dentophobia to have crippling anxieties about visiting a dental office.

How Can I Help My Patient Overcome Dentophobia?

There are many different ways to combat dentophobia, ranging from therapies to medication.

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If you are able to get your patient to the office before they start to feel their anxieties, you can help them to relax by doing deep breathing exercises, explaining treatment thoroughly, and having a process set in place for them to see. Giving your patient a set in stone course of action can take the anxieties of the unknown out of the equation.

Another method for dental anxiety relief is mild sedatives, usually prescribed before the appointment. Most patients will be told to take the medication thirty minutes to an hour before appointment time, that way when they get to the dental office they are already calm. Some patients may need to take medication both before and during a dental visit, depending on how long the visit will be, what treatment is taking place, and how bad their dentophobia or dental anxiety is.

Why are patients afraid of the dentist

General anesthesia can be using in severe cases where the patient can’t be awake for their dental care. However, this must be discussed with the patient prior to appointment time, and all other medical conditions need to be taken into account before deciding that is the course of action to take.

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Dental fears and phobias are an unfortunate occurrence, but with the right precautions, you will be able to show your patients that there is nothing to fear.

DentiCalc 4in1 is a mobile application that will help you ensure your patients that the treatment they need is necessary, and that they will benefit from its completion.

Make use of DentiCalc’s massive library of videos, pictures and illustrations to fully explain your patient’s recommended treatment. Should they have any questions about how they can benefit from the treatment, you can show them before and after pictures that clearly highlight the importance of treatment completion.

With DentiCalc, easing your patient’s fears has never been easier.

Download the app today and empower every consultation with professionalism, expertise, and confidence.

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