People have many types of phobias. For example, some fear insects (Entomophobia), others hate closed spaces (claustrophobia) or extreme heights (Acrophobia). Some people also suffer from a phobia of going to the dental clinic (Dentophobia). They do not visit the dentist for the routine checkups or treatment because of fear and they would rather deal with the pain by taking painkillers, which won't solve the problem.
Fear of visiting the dental clinic or the doctor has several reasons. Some of these reasons, they believe that the treatment is painful, fear of the sounds of the dental devices and the anaesthetic needle. Sometimes this kind of fear can be a result of bad experience in the dental clinic during childhood.
There are many ways the patient can overcome the fear of going to the dental clinic. This includes :
• An open discussion between the person suffering from the phobia and the doctor about their fear
• Practising relaxation exercises to prepare before and during the treatment.
• Applying steps to control anxiety, such as deep breathing or meditation. In some cases, they might require psychotherapy.
• Visiting the dentist periodically for checkups. This will make the patient feel a state of stability by getting used to the clinical environment
• The medical staff play a very big role in creating a comfortable and a friendly environment for the patient.
In some cases, the first visit may be an introduction to the clinic without any treatment. This helps to develop trust between the doctor and the patient. Furthermore, the doctor can discuss the treatment plan with the patient and discuss some ways to communicate during the treatment. For example, making certain signals if they want to talk or if they feel pain.
In conclusion, periodic check-ups every six months are important, it prevents problems that are related to oral and dental health and their future complications which can make the treatment more complicated.
It will also help the patient get used to the clinic and the medical staff. Making the patient feel reassured with less fear knowing the fact that it's only a dental checkup session.
The writer is a dental surgeon/ Endodontist.