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Dental Phobia PDF Print E-mail

Dental phobia

Dental phobia is a fear, or phobia, traditionally defined as an irrational and exaggerated fear of dentists and dental procedures. Some controversy exists with regards to whether the fear is "irrational", as dental phobia is most commonly caused by previous bad experiences. Furthermore, there appear to be several subtypes of dental phobia, which to date have not been adequately described and categorized, for example "fear of dentists" versus "fear of specific dental procedures", needle phobia, and dental phobia resulting from previous, perhaps unrelated, abuse. Not all of these fears can be deemed irrational.

Dental phobia may better be defined as an extreme and persistent fear which results in the individual's avoidance of attending a dentist at all costs, unless possibly when a physical problem becomes overwhelming. Even thinking or hearing about going to the dentist will cause marked psychological distress, and the phobia may interfere with social functioning.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), dental phobia (which may also be referred to as odontophobia, dentophobia, dentist phobia, or dental anxiety) is one of the specific phobias. The diagnostic criteria of specific phobia include

  • a marked and persistent fear of the specific object or situation that is excessive or unreasonable,
  • an immediate anxiety response upon exposure to the feared stimulus, which may take the form of a panic attack,
  • recognition that the fear is excessive or unreasonable,
  • avoidance of the anxiety-producing situation,
  • the phobia interferes with normal functioning or causes marked distress.

Contents

  • 1 Signs of dental phobia
  • 2 Causes
  • 3 Prevalence

 

Signs of dental phobia

  • Trouble sleeping the night before the dental exam
  • Feelings of nervousness that escalate while in the dental office waiting room
  • Crying or feeling physically ill at the very thought of visiting the dentist
  • Intense uneasiness at the thought of, or actually when objects are placed in your mouth during the dental appointment or suddenly feeling like it is difficult to breathe

 

Causes

Dental phobia is most commonly caused by traumatic dental experiences, although there can be other causes as well. Children are often influenced by their parents' fears and attitudes towards dental treatment.

Dental phobia may involve:

  • Fear of dentists
  • Fear of dental procedures
  • Fear of pain
  • Fear of injections or fear the injection wont work
  • Fear of anesthetic side effects
  • Feelings of helplessness and loss of control

And other objects and situations which remind the sufferer of the phobic situation. The dentist's drill is often a major factor in these fears.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

More on Dental Fear and Anxiety at http://www.dentalfearcentral.org/

 

 

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