Dealing with Dental Phobia and Stereotypes

Published: 28th September 2011
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Dental phobia, or dental anxiety, is the fear of receiving dental care or dentistry in general. The development of this phobia is usually due to post-traumatic stress disorder caused by a single or several traumatic dental experiences. As much as seventy five percent of adults in the United States suffer from dental phobia, ranging from mild to severe cases.

The most common way dental phobia is developed is through one’s own experience. This fear usually begins after a traumatic experience. How the dentist handles the person can also cause dental phobia. Some dentists are said to be uncaring and cold towards patients. Women and younger people tend to be more fearful than men and elder people. Dental surgeries are also more usually feared than non-surgical procedures like oral prophylaxis.

Another factor that affects people’s perception of dentists is the stereotype associated with dentistry. In mass media, especially in cartoons and shows for kids, the dentist is always a scary man out to terrorize the kids. There are also a lot of evil dentists and doctors who appear in movies all the time. Because of this, the white coats usually worn by dentists and doctors are often feared by children.

Fortunately, there are several ways to approaching this particular fear. Proper communication is the most common solution. Sometimes, it is just simply the way the dentists laurel handle their patients. They should make their patients feel at ease and speak in a non threatening manner. Not wearing the typical white coat could also help. Fun and friendly colors could are more inviting than solid white.

Technology and gadgets can also help in cases like these. Music players and video devices can help distract a patient from the procedure. Some dentists laurel md have television screens in the ceiling to keep kids’ attention. There are also a lot of numbing gels and creams that could replace injected anesthetics.

For extreme cases, sedation is usually the way to go. A common technique involves administering nitrous oxide (NO2) or laughing gas which kills pain and adds a euphoric feeling which could make a person giggle, hence the term laughing gas. Deep sedation is also available for people who really trust their laurel dentist. It involves being in a deep sleep which enables the dentist to perform a procedure without the patient feeling a thing.

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