Fear of Dentists
Dental fear refers to the fear of dentistry or of receiving dental care.
A severe form of this fear is called dental phobia, odontophobia, dentophobia, dentist phobia, or dental anxiety.
However, it has been suggested that the term “dental phobia” is often a misnomer, as many people with this condition do not feel their fears to be excessive or unreasonable and resemble individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder, caused by previous traumatic dental experiences.
In many cases the actual fear may be more about the fear of injections or needles.
A survey by the British Dental Association found that 25% of people were afraid of visiting the dentist.
“Some people blame the cost because it’s easier than saying they’re frightened”
says Dr Carole Boyle, a specialist in sedation and special care dentistry at King’s College London.
Fear of the unknown
As with any type of anxiety, there are varying degrees of fear of the dentist.
The most common, and least severe, is simply a fear of the unknown.
This may arise if you’ve heard horror stories from other people or you’re worried about what could happen.
The next level of fear is dental fear, which is a reaction to a known danger.
For example, you may have had a tooth removed and experienced some pain. As a result, you may worry about experiencing it again.
Dental phobia is similar to dental fear but is more severe.
It’s often the result of a bad past experience.
For some people, dental phobia can be so crippling that simply seeing a toothpaste advert or a dental surgery can cause distress.
This is known as Anticipatory Anxiety
Reasons you may have developed the fear of dentists
▪ bad childhood experiences
▪ fear of injections
▪ fear of the anaesthetic
▪ fear of the dentist’s drill or the sound of the drill itself
▪ fear of being out of control
▪ feeling vulnerable
▪ invasion of your personal space
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