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Odontophobia: how to deal with the fear of the dentist


Odontophobia is that uncontrolled fear that assails a patient before any dental visit. It is quite common to be assailed by a mild feeling of anxiety before a session at the dentist, but when anxiety turns into anguish, sweating, trembling and a desire to run away, then it is a specific disorder: odontophobia precisely .

What is the origin of dental phobia and what are the symptoms?

An American research carried out by Columbia Dental School Washington has shown that about 50% of Americans avoid dental care for reasons related to anxiety and fear. This attitude actually leads to an increase in the complexity of clinical cases, with serious damage to the health of the teeth and the whole organism.

The World Health Organization recognizes odontophobia as a real disease, of which, at least according to the same WHO estimates, about 15% of the entire world population suffers from it. Odontophobia does not have a precise origin. Often it is linked to childhood trauma or to stories of traumatic episodes by relatives or friends, other times it is linked to the fear of losing control of the situation.

If there is never a common evidence on the origins of odontophobia, there is often a recurrence on the symptoms that distinguish it:

  • sense of suffocation
  • palpitations
  • excessive sweating
  • tachycardia
  • hypertension
  • nausea or vomiting
  • tremor in the limbs
  • pressure drop
  • secchezza delle fauci

The perception of one or more of these symptoms leads the patient away from the dental center, but running away from the problem certainly does not help to solve it. In fact, procrastinating the visit to the dentist over time has two consequences that are certainly not negligible. La prima è la possibilità di aggravare la propria situazione clinica e la seconda è quella di dover ricorrere successivamente a un maggiore impegno economico per poter risolvere la situazione.

How to overcome odontophobia

odontophobiaThe fear of the dentist is often the result of an ancient idea, one for which dentist and pain are practically synonymous. For many years this has not been the case, new technological tools and greater attention to the patient have revolutionized dental care.

In centers of excellence like ours, we know how to treat dental phobia patients because the fear of the dentist is much more widespread than you might think. A competent dentist knows how to recognize the anxiety states of his patient and his first thought will be to put him at ease. Fear is a common feeling, whereby you will always find maximum availability and understanding.

Now you are thinking that a comfortable environment is certainly helpful, but your fixation is pain.

In the last decade, from this point of view, dentistry has made great strides, bringing a significant reduction in pain for all dental treatments; in fact, even for implantology, pain equal to little more than a nuisance is guaranteed.

If this were not enough, there is always the possibility to face the most complex dental treatments using conscious sedation. The anesthesiologist who works alongside the dentist in the phase prior to the operation will administer a particular anesthetic which guarantees the patient a state of semi-awareness. Conscious sedation in fact allows you to keep the situation under control, but at the same time not to feel any type of pain and cancel any type of anxiety.

The solutions to dental phobia are therefore within reach and what might seem an unsurpassed condition, in reality only needs a small act of courage.

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