Do you suffer from dentophobia?
Dentophobia, or fear of dentists, is a common phobia among people of all ages. It is sometimes related to iatrophobia, or fear of doctors, as well as trypanophobia, or fear of needles. Dentophobia may be mild or severe, and can eventually lead to devastating consequences.
I admit to being one of those who fear dentists, doctors, hospitals, as well as needles. I have always been that way since I was small.
There was a case when I was just about 3 or 4 years old when I had to go for a tonsil operation. I was so scared of the doctor, I threw my shoe at him and hid under the table.
Then there was another time I was forced to endure acupuncture because I had a mild outbreak or something and my mother and her boyfriend took me to this place where this person stuck needles into me.
The funniest and most embarrassing moments would be when I was pregnant and I just hated it when the clinic nurses attempted to check my blood sugar and such. I would be putting up a huge struggle. It still occurred into my second child's pregnancy and the nurse chided me saying giving birth was even more painful and I retorted that the pain came naturally, not being inflicted on.
Finally I compromised and allowed my blood to be taken via my arm rather then to be just pricked at my finger. Silly, huh?
Fortunately now that I am older, I try my best to bear with it quietly by looking away and such but it doesn't stop me from tensing up.
Dentophobia can be divided into several different elements. Most people with this fear probably worry about more than one of these elements, while those with severe dentophobia may fear all or most elements simultaneously.
- The Dentist – Like doctors, IRS auditors and others in commonly feared professions, “The Dentist” is often cast as cold and unfeeling at best, or sadistic at worst. If you have had a negative personal experience with a particular dentist, you may be more prone to this phobia.
- Pain – Until relatively recently, completely painless dentistry was difficult or impossible. Even today, some procedures may involve a slight amount of pain. Many people are extremely sensitive to mouth pain, and fear that the pain may be excruciating.
- Numbness or Gagging – Some people, particularly those who have experienced choking or difficulty breathing, are afraid of having their mouths numbed. You might worry that you will be unable to breathe or swallow.
- Sounds and Smells – Many people, particularly those who have had previous bad experiences with dentists, are afraid of the sounds and smells of a dentist’s office, particularly the sound of the drill.
- Needles – If you have needle phobia, you might be extremely afraid of the injections that dentists use to numb the mouth
It is said that many dentally fearful people will only seek dental care when they have a real dental problem, such as a toothache like yours truly here. People who are scared of dental care often experience a "cycle of avoidance," in which they avoid dental care due to fear until they undergo a dental emergency requiring invasive treatment, which can reinforce their fear of dentistry.
Tooth decay tends to worsen over time. Small cavities that once could have been easily filled can lead to broken and rotten teeth, requiring expensive and invasive root canal therapy and reconstructive work. This knowledge can, in turn, make you even less likely to seek treatment, creating a vicious cycle, sadly, this is what happened to me.
It took a horrible toothache to "coax" me to pay a visit to the dentist and everyone knows toothaches are one of the most vicious and painful thing to endure.
I went to the dental clinic near my house and even during wait, I was a bag full of nerves.
The dentist was gentle but instead of pulling out the offending tooth, he cleaned out the rotten cavities and gave me a temporary filling and I am forced to see him again in a couple of days for a more permanent filling as he said that the tooth was still strong. So it looks like I have to endure yet another visit to the dentist in a couple of days.
Wish me luck!!!!