For some people, going to the dentist is something they are very afraid of, or even scared of. This is mainly due to bad experiences or bad impressions in the past (especially in childhood).
Often, this concern is based on fear of needle and pain.
Advancing technology offers many alternatives for patients not to feel pain. Therefore, patients do not experience much pain today. For example, with the advancement of technology, needles used for anesthesia in dentistry are given a diameter of less than one millimeter (0.35-0.40 mm). Because the diameter of the needle is very thin, the patient often does not feel the needle. Nevertheless, for patients concerned, before applying the needle, spray-type superficial anesthetics can be used to ensure that the needle is never felt.
The first condition of a painless treatment is anesthesia. Thus, people with needle fear may experience a pain that they feel much more by avoiding a procedure, namely anesthesia, that they may feel very little or will not feel at all.
Anesthesia must be performed so that both the patient and the dentist feel comfortable psychologically, so pain stress cannot be experienced. This way, the treatment will be faster and more successful.
It is recommended that children be taken to the dentist at a young age to get accustomed to their dentist”, or even these introductions may be on their birthday or special days or they may be taken to the dentist for fun before going to a place they love. Thus, in the first experience, the child has a day that is painless and fearless. In subsequent sessions, pain-free interventions should be performed as much as possible. It should be remembered that children only know if they are hurting. They cannot interpret events correctly. For this reason, the treatment is extended over time, ensuring that the child does not get negative impressions about the dentists. As a result, the most important periods in which the fear of dentists develops are passed smoothly.
Fear of Dentists
Certain films and cartoons reinforce the fear of dentists, which in turn lead patients to prejudice. It is often used as a subject of humor but has miseffects, especially in children. For this reason, film and sense of humor must be avoided. In particular, children should be kept away from such films and magazines.
The fear of dentists includes irrational fears such as fear of going to the dentist psychologically or fear of not liking it or finding it disgusting to go to the dentist. These fears may include the fear that infectious diseases and microbes such as HIV and hepatitis may be caught, given that the dentist seat is retrofitted backwards, hands or other tooth tools are inserted into the mouth (especially the crazy tool used in dentistry), the fear of needles and tools are not sterile. In fact, these fears are, in a sense, acceptable fears, and one might find justified reasons for such fear. Nevertheless, the fact that we always have the possibility of going to the dentist in our lives, and that we may have to encounter such situations that we don’t like, should be kept in mind, and even if we don’t like them, we may have to endure this situation someday.
As we all know and have been advised to have a healthy smile, we must go to a dentist and have our teeth checked at least every six months. This situation, which is necessary for our oral and dental health as well as for the health of our other organs, causes a great fear and anxiety for some of us. This fear and anxiety going to a dentist may even occur with the thought being brought to mind and can cause panic. Even the mental experience of dental procedures can be extremely frightening for them. These people and the majority of other people with a fear of dentists are those who have experienced various accidents or had negative experiences in the dentist seat. Thus, the concern that the same situation may occur again leads to continued fear and fear arises when people remember these events.
Along with these setbacks and adversities, the source of fear of dentists may be the pain or other problems that arise during and after the treatment. There are also people who develop fear of dentists through dentist stories and such sensations that are told only by others without experience. As this prevents people from going to the dentist, there are more serious dental problems, and people who have to go to the dentist due to growing problems are exposed to longer periods of treatment and more. The prolonged treatment of these procedures due to tooth problems and the distress to the person reinforces the fear of dentists.
If the patient can talk to the dentist beforehand about this fear and explain the dentist about the source and causes of their fears, it is often possible to overcome the fear of dentists, which can arise for a wide range of reasons and include a wide range of fears (fear of needles, fear of blood, fear of pain, fear of disease or fear of infection, etc.). Otherwise, the dentist who is not informed by their patient or the patient’s relatives cannot be expected to automatically understand this situation. Therefore, there will be no difference in the fear of the phobic patient in this regard compared to other patients and they may have difficulties in dealing with fear of the patient. Moreover, this fear can become increasingly severe, as it is not shared and no assistance is received from a doctor. This fear must be overcome and shared before dental treatment.
In some cases, the patient’s fear of dentists may occur during treatment, and this fear may only be noticed when treatment begins. It should be noted that this delayed discovery may also lead to delays in finding and creating various alternatives for patient’s treatment.
Almost all dentists have or will have to work with patients who are suffering from the fear of dentists. Likewise, you or a relative may still be having this fear, or one day you or a relative may come across this fear. In such cases, the first step is to mention fear when making an appointment with a dentist. This step will allow the appointment time to be set for the most appropriate time, so the appointment can be made more suitable for both the dentist and the patient. The second thing that needs to be done is that the patient speaks openly with their dentist about their fears. Why is the patient afraid of the dentist and what can be done about it? Patient’s speech with the doctor on fear and resources and joint decisions on the measures to be taken in this regard as well as on the possible changes will provide significant benefits in overcoming the fear. Also, one thing to remember is that patients who have fear of dentists prefer dentists they know and communicate well. Working with a familiar dentist is more relaxing and less stressful than working with a dentist whom the patient is not familiar with.
On the other hand, it should be noted that there are dentists who particularly work with patients with fear of dentists. Choosing dentists who work and have experience in this area will make it easier for the patient and easier for the dentist. For this, a search may be conducted beforehand. It will not be difficult to reach out to people working in this field as fear of dentists is a common phenomenon that has happened to many people. On the other hand, it is also known that some dentists do not want to work with patients who have fear dentists. For this reason, fear of dentists must be mentioned when making an appointment.
Compared to the fear of dentists, there are some fears that are relatively easier to conclude than others. Once these fears are identified, some measures can be taken and fear can be eradicated. For example: for those who feel uncomfortable with the sound of a drilling instrument used in dentistry, it may be advisable to use walkman during treatment. In this way, the cause of fear is eliminated as the sound of the instrument will be suppressed by the sound of music.
Aroma therapy can be used to eliminate fears caused by dirty scents and foreign odors.
On the other hand, soft contact by the dentist or assistant to the patient, as well as the warm and heartfelt attitude, and calming speeches can help relieve tension and alleviate the pain. In some cases meditation may be tried.
Again, for very excited people, relaxation methods can be used and relaxation exercises can be taught to the patient.
Procedures performed by the dentist during the treatment of the patient. The procedure can be explained step by step and the patient may be asked to notify by raising their hand when there is a pain. Thus, fear can be reduced by giving the patient the guarantee that the procedure can be stopped when a pain arises.
Some people may have more serious fears. In these cases, oral or vessel sedatives may be required or general anesthesia may be required. Additionally, using hypnosis in addition to psychotherapy may help in overcoming these fears. For this purpose, dentists and psychologists from other areas need to cooperate.
What is important here is to first determine which technique is suitable for the patient and to implement it. After the patient is seated in the dental care seat, any inconsistencies in this matter may lead to the patient or the dentist giving up treatment and if the patient is allowed to leave, the problems caused by the teeth may increase even more and the patient may be forced to go to the dentist more often. In this case, the patient may have to undergo many different procedures. For this reason, the fear of dentists or in other words the fear of going to the dentist must be defeated.