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Scared Of The Drill? Overcoming Dental Phobia



Dental treatment – the overall experience

Let’s face it – few of us actually enjoy a trip to the dental surgery. Okay, so there may be those among us who have never actually needed treatment, and whose interactions with a dental health professional are simply just being told that all is good.

For the rest of us, though, there are all kinds of things we’ve visited the dentist for:

  • Broken or chipped teeth
  • Extractions
  • Fillings
  • Bridgework
  • Root canal work
  • Crowns
  • Scaling and polishing

And that’s just a few of the many reasons we visit the dentist. Some of the above treatments and procedures are easier than others, but even the more challenging ones should only cause discomfort while in the chair.

For people with dental phobia, though, a trip to the dentist can actually be quite a challenging experience due to dental phobia. So while for many of us it’s something we can put up with for the reward of having healthy teeth, for some of us it’s not quite so easy.

Overcoming dental phobia

So, what can be done to help people overcome a strong fear of dental work? In some cases, it’s largely a case of finding a practitioner who can put patients with a dental phobia at ease. The phrase ‘gentle dentistry’ is one that’s becoming more common these days, and refers to practitioners who specialize in a type of very patient-focused treatment that’s based firmly on ensuring the person receiving the treatment is given as much assistance as possible to get through it with the least discomfort.

Research has also indicated that hypnosis can be used to help patients undergoing dental work – in one study carried out in the 90s, recovery time was found to be quicker for the people who’d received Hypno-sedation versus another group who were sedated using conventional means.

In many cases, it’s possible to start the process of overcoming dental anxiety by talking things over with your dentist. Some practitioners will also be happy for you to book an appointment where you can talk through any specific concerns you have. This also has an added benefit in that it means you’re in the dentist’s surgery and able to familiarise yourself with the surroundings but without having to worry about being treated on that actual day.