Fear of dentists or dentophobia is more common than you think. One out of three patients has some kind of fear toward dentists or the dental chair. This can be manifested in many ways. Some patients cannot tolerate the typical sounds of a dental office, such as the suction or the drill. Others associate certain smells or tastes to pain or fear. Yet others get a negative feeling when they see needles, the dentist´s scrub, or certain instruments. If you identify with any of these situations, we are here to tell you we totally understand you.
Dentistry for many years was downright painful and you might have had bad experiences as a child. We also acknowledge that dental problems can be extremely painful if not timely treated. We understand that you probably feel anxious about not having control over the situation. However, remember the dentist is there to relieve any pain or discomfort. They are there to help, and they won´t harm you in any way.
Dentophobia can cause many complications. Patients who suffer it postpone their visits to the dentist for many years. Delaying treatment causes the need for complex solutions to what may have been possibly simple problems. Maybe a cavity requires a filling if treated on time, but without treatment, the decay can cause painful infections and a resulting extraction. This, in turn, involves more expensive and invasive reconstructions. Poor oral health can be the cause of medical and psychological problems too. If you are unable to chew properly, you may develop gastric problems. Untreated infections in your mouth can also spread throughout your bone and compromise adjacent teeth. It can even reach your nerve and blood conducts and spread to the rest of your body. On the other hand, feeling that you cannot freely talk or smile without drawing negative attention to your mouth can really affect your self-esteem and be the cause of depression, anxiety, and other psychological conditions.
The most severe cases of dental phobia must be treated medically with a specialist. In general, most patients are able to undergo dental treatments with palliative solutions. A comprehensive attitude from the staff, effective communication with the dentist, and musical or visual distractions are effective ways to ease the anxiety or fear. In some cases, medications, laughing gas, or IV sedation are available to help the patient slide through otherwise bumpy procedures.
At the Costa Rica Dental Team, we have dealt with too many dentophobia cases to count. We are happy to say that not even a handful of them have run away from the dental chair. Our team of dentists is very compassionate and will go great lengths to make you feel comfortable. For example, we like you to know what is going on, and for this reason we will take images (photos, x-rays) of the treatment as you go. If you feel you need a break, they will give you the time you need. They will put on music to help you relax. In some cases, if your health permits it, they can prescribe medication that will ease anxiety. You can also let them know what can help and they will do their best to make you feel comfortable.
Contact us if you think you have special dental needsn. Dental phobia can be truly paralyzing, but its consequences can be devastating. Do not wait until you are in pain to visit your dentist, and do not let your apprehensions dictate when to plan your next dental appointment. Instead, find a dentist who will work with you to overcome them. Contact us now for a dental consultation.