Dental Fear is a reaction to a known danger, involves a fight or flight response when confronted with the threatening stimulus.
Dental anxiety is a reaction to an unknown danger. It is common for most people experience some degree of dental anxiety.
Dental Phobia is the same as fear only much stronger fight or flight response occurs when just thinking about or being reminded of the threatening situation.
Phobia is defined as an irrational severe fear that leads to avoidance of the feared situation, object or activity. Exposure to the feared stimulus provokes an immediate anxiety response, which may take the form of a panic attack.
Anxiety and phobia cause a lot of distress, and impacts on other aspects of your life.
Dental fears, anxiety or phobias may are related to:
Fear of specific stimuli
Distrust of dental personnel
Fear of catastrophy (medical emergency)
Strategies for Addressing Anxiety & Phobia
There are several psychological and behavioral approaches for addressing dental anxiety and/or phobia. These effective strategies include the following:
Realize that others share your fears and are ready to help you overcome them .
Identify your fears and educate yourself about realistic and unrealistic expectations, possible treatment options and what they involve, how to find the right dentist, areas of specialty, etc.
Discuss your treatment with your dentist so you will know exactly what to expect. Ask for information you can read at home, and conduct research online.
Choose a dental team with the technological-savvy, tools and skills to make you feel safe and well cared for; one that possesses the patience and expertise to reassuringly guide you through the treatment plan.
Communicate your fears and anxieties to your dental team. Good dentist-patient communication is considered a crucial factor for relieving dental anxiety and phobia. Openly expressing your concerns will let them adapt the treatment to your needs.
Before a dental appointment, eat high-protein foods, which produce a calming effect; avoid foods high in caffeine and sugar, which may increase jittery nerves.
Take advantage of in-office distraction amenities. Some dental offices offer television, music or virtual reality glasses to entertain you. Pillows, blankets and aromatherapy also help people relax.