Fear of the dentist – a big issue for many people
Dental treatment can be painful, for example when it comes to dentures. And knowing this makes many patients anxious before and during dental treatment. Most overcome this fear. In around 5-15% of adults, however, the fear of the dentist is so strong that they avoid going to the dentist for years and only seek treatment if they are in severe pain. Then the tooth damage is serious and extensive procedures such as dentures are usually necessary and bearable. This increases fear and the quality of life also suffers, because many fearful patients are ashamed of their teeth and therefore do not talk or laugh in public. Extreme avoidance distinguishes the normal fear of the dentist from the phobia of dental treatment. The intense fear can express itself in psychological symptoms such as a feeling of alienation towards oneself (depersonalization) or with regard to the environment (derealization) and be accompanied by physical complaints such as breathing problems, hot flashes and tingling sensations.
How do you become an anxiety patient?
An unhealthy fear of dental treatment can have various causes. Mostly they are traumatic experiences at the dentist. But you can also learn about fear using a model when others, especially family members, talk about their visit to the dentist’s office. Or you can become a fear patient through classical conditioning. Then actually harmless things like a white doctor’s coat trigger fear because they were previously perceived at the same time as pain. If there is uncertainty as to whether pain will occur, anticipatory anxiety can arise. And uncertainty about the course of treatment can also cause anxiety. In addition, the social aspect of the situation can be frightening. Some anxious patients feel at their mercy, they fear a loss of self-control or the characteristics and behaviors of the dentist trigger fear in them. Dental anxiety can also be associated with a mental illness such as depression, anxiety disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder.
How is fear of dental treatment treated?
Fear of dental treatment can be treated relatively quickly and usually successfully. An average of six to ten psychotherapy sessions are required for this, and there are also special therapy methods that successfully tackle the problem within a session lasting two to three hours. According to this, around 70% of patients regularly visit a dentist in the medium term and can accept treatments such as dentures. Medicines that reduce anxiety and pain, or measures such as general anesthesia, on the other hand, are only successful in the short term and can only be used in exceptional cases if an anxious patient has to receive emergency treatment in the dental practice.
Are you an anxiety patient? Then get to know us.
Patients with anxiety are welcome to visit us. We get to know you in the first step, advise you and treat you only after consultation. Empathy and understanding we show for all our
Patients. Anti-anxiety medications or anesthesia options are, of course, also available for
available when fears first seem insurmountable. Popular method our
treating anxiety patients is laughing gas sedation.
We want them to have positive experiences, keep regular check-up appointments to avoid costly treatments. Because lifelong dental health should also be achievable for anxiety patients.
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