What does dental phobia look like and how does it start? Dr Bashar explains:
Symptoms might include:
- Insomnia in the days or even weeks prior to a dental appointment;
- Tears at the thought of visiting the dentist or at the practice;
- Sweating, dry mouth, heart palpitations or similar physical characteristics;
- Extreme avoidance activity including suffering with dental issues and repeatedly cancelling appointments.
This is where someone has experienced a traumatic level of difficulty when visiting the dentist in the past. It might have involved pain but does not need to be limited to this. It can be caused, for example, by extreme sensory exposure to lights or noise or perhaps anticipatory anxiety about a procedure not going well for some reason.
If someone has secondary psychological complications when it comes to their dental work, this can also exacerbate issues. A good example might where a patient feels dependent on cosmetically beneficial repair work to improve their life circumstances in some way and they are worried that this won’t happen as they expect it to.
Visits to the dentist have a bad reputation in many people’s minds. This can lead to a build-up of anxiety in someone’s mind that is unrelated to their direct experience.
Some people might also see an inherent vulnerability or lack of control in the experience of being a dental patient which leads to further anxiety. This may be mitigated by increasing their understanding of what is happening during their treatment or offering them a way to monitor what is going on for themselves.
Treatment for each patient is different
As a dentist for nervous patients in London, Care Dental Platinum attempts to understand which of the above sources they derive their phobia from. Some patients can combine elements from each category to support their dental phobia. Take a look at our next post about how we alleviate anxiety here.