There are many reasons that people panic at the thought of sitting in a dentist’s chair, though oftentimes it’s not exactly what you would think. Here are some of the least expected reasons for odontophobia.
It’s difficult enough for most people to be in such a close proximity with someone in a normal setting, let alone when you feel as though you don’t have control of what’s happening to your own body. Whether this stems from diagnosed anxiety or simply a need for personal space, it is one of the main reasons that people are afraid of the dentist.
2. Losing Your Breath
One of the most common fears for people involving dental work is the idea of a loss of breath control. Psychologically and biologically speaking, it’s extremely difficult for a person to withstand even the most minor dental procedure when they feel as though they won’t be able to breathe. It’s a natural survival mechanism that you have so you don’t die. Unfortunately, because dentists are dealing with your mouth, it’s also natural that you might get nervous about this.
3. Learned Fear
Humans are prone to pick up habits and quirks from other humans. So it’s not uncommon for a child to quickly absorb their parents’ fear of dental procedures and avoid it for as long as they can. In addition to this, the media shows actors portraying fear of dentist regularly, which can add to the terror for many, especially children.
4. Sensory: Smell, Noises, and Lights
Sometimes all it takes for a person to never go back to a dentist again are the sensory items surrounding a dentist’s office: sounds they hear in the waiting room, the medicinal smells, and the bright lights the dentists and hygienists use to see into patients’ mouths. Many times, sensory fears like this are instilled due to other problems or previous experiences, that have nothing to do with the dentist. The sensory items trigger negative memories and feelings from earlier experiences, that determine current experiences of a dentist visit.
Make sure your dentist is a good fit for you, call them ahead of time and ask for a consultation so you can go over whatever you may need to feel more comfortable. Fear is normal, but that shouldn’t halt you from maintaining good oral health.