The appointment with the dentist certainly does not represent a pleasant meeting for many of us, but in most cases, albeit with a feeling of discomfort or fear, we turn to him for treatment and advice. This does not happen, however, for those suffering from fear of the dentist , odontophobia , or a real phobia for the dentist, a disorder that has also been officially recognized by the WHO.
What is dental phobia and how it manifests itself
Going into the detail of the disorder, we can place the dentist’s phobia within that category of phobic disorders called monophobias , that is, experiencing intense fear, up to real panic attacks, towards an event , a specific situation, a specific object. In the case of the dental phobia , the object of fear is represented by the dentist and everything that calls the professional’s office (the drill, the needle, the noise of the tools, etc …).
The person, although aware of the irrationality of fear , cannot help but try it, to the point of experiencing symptoms such as tachycardia , sweating , a sense of suffocation , tremor , a feeling of passing out , up to real attacks panic .
What attempted solutions does dental phobia sufferers put in place?
To cope with the deep feeling of fear, the dental phobicist puts in place a whole series of strategies. We can identify two categories of strategies implemented by the dental phobic, outside the dental office and, when, however, due to the serious state of compromise of his dental health, he is forced to go to the dentist.
Strategies out of the studio
Constantly postpone the appointment with the dentist
Taking drugs, antibiotics in an attempt to “self-medicate”
Avoid situations, arguments that refer to the situation that causes him anxiety.
Are these strategies useful?
With the avoidance, only apparently the person, manages to keep the anxiety experienced at bay, while, in reality, he does not realize that the more he avoids, the more the phobia gets bigger . L ‘ avoidance , in fact, helps to reinforce the idea that the person is totally impossible to overcome and deal with the problem. So, faced with the need to ask the dentist for help in order to be treated, the subject ends up choosing the path of self-treatment, sometimes causing serious consequences for their health and being forced to contact the dentist in seriously compromised situations that require “heavy” interventions. Paradoxically, avoidance pushes them towards their worst nightmare: long interventions, dental extractions, numerous sessions at the dental office.