Panicked fear of the dentist: when months turn into years
Hardly anyone really likes going to the dentist. But when an upcoming visit triggers sweats and pathological anxiety, one speaks of a so-called dental phobia. In most cases, the fear of pain and unpleasant drilling noises is so great that those affected completely avoid check-ups or necessary repair measures.
"Even the sterile smell of practice triggers many defense reactions and even nausea, so that you avoid going to the dentist - with fatal consequences for teeth and health," says Dr. Dr. Manfred Nilius, M. Sc., Specialist for oral, maxillofacial and facial plastic surgery and head of the Nilius practice clinic in Dortmund.
Causes of dental phobia
Often a fear of the dentist develops due to bad experiences. This can be caused by incorrect medical behavior as well as severe pain during treatment. “Affected people often feel that their fears are not taken seriously and therefore lose confidence in the dentist. Feelings like loss of control or gagging stimuli can also trigger phobia, ”emphasizes Dr. Manfred Nilius. Not infrequently, the state of being delivered is feared, as is the fear of suffocation or vomiting. As a result, many patients avoid visiting the dentist for decades, risking greater and more visible damage. This begins the vicious cycle, because the more time passes, the more complex the treatment becomes.
Anxious to the next treatment
For a carefree walk to the next appointment, a calm initial discussion often releases tension, reduces inhibitions and creates trust. "We also recommend an appointment in the afternoon for pain-sensitive patients, because at this time of day the feeling of pain is reduced due to a lower cortisol level in most people," Dr. Nilius added: “In the case of more extensive treatment, analgesia is recommended. Patients oversleep in a kind of twilight state, the terrifying situation for them and can then go home straight away. "
Even before drilling, those affected no longer have to be afraid thanks to new and gentle methods. A so-called water laser removes bacteria gently and without drilling noise using laser light and water. Due to a variety of options, the patient can be individually addressed, so that a visit to the dentist is as stress-free and fear-free as possible. (pm)