What is Odontophobia?
Many people experience some level of anxiety when it comes to visiting the dentist. But for some individuals, the fear of dental treatment goes beyond typical nervousness and can develop into a specific phobia known as odontophobia.
We’ve put together some valuable information about what odontophobia is, how common it is, and how it differs from dentophobia. We’ll also discuss some common symptoms of odontophobia and how to manage them.
Odontophobia is an intense and irrational fear of dental treatment. This fear can be triggered by a variety of factors, including a past negative experience with dental treatment, the fear of pain or discomfort, or a fear of loss of control. Some people may also have a fear of needles or a strong gag reflex, which can contribute to their fear of dental treatment.
For individuals with odontophobia, the fear of dental treatment can be triggered by the thought of having braces fitted. This fear may stem from a fear of pain or discomfort associated with the procedure, or a fear of loss of control. In some cases, individuals may also have a fear of the social implications of wearing braces, such as feeling self-conscious or embarrassed.
How Common Is Odontophobia?
The exact prevalence of odontophobia is difficult to determine as there is no widely accepted diagnostic criteria for this condition. However, research suggests that dental anxiety and phobia are relatively common, with estimates suggesting that up to 15% of people experience some level of dental anxiety or phobia.
Odontophobia vs. Dentophobia
It’s important to note that odontophobia is not the same as dentophobia. Dentophobia is a fear of the dentist in general, while odontophobia is specifically related to the fear of dental treatment.
People with dentophobia may avoid visiting the dentist altogether. While those with odontophobia may be able to visit the dentist for routine check-ups but experience intense fear and anxiety when it comes to receiving dental treatment.
The symptoms of odontophobia can vary from person to person and can range from mild to severe. Some common symptoms of odontophobia include:
- Panic attacks or intense anxiety when thinking about or facing dental treatment
- Avoiding or cancelling dental appointments
- Difficulty sleeping the night before a dental appointment
- Sweating, trembling, or feeling nauseous when in the dentist’s office
- Feeling a sense of dread or impending doom when thinking about dental treatment
- Fainting or experiencing a rapid heartbeat when receiving dental treatment
It’s important to note that these symptoms can also be indicative of other conditions, such as anxiety disorders or panic disorders. If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to speak with a mental health professional to receive a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
If you or someone you know experiences odontophobia, there are several strategies that can be employed to help manage the fear and anxiety associated with dental treatment. One effective approach is cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), which can help individuals identify and challenge negative thought patterns and develop coping strategies for managing fear and anxiety.
At Hampstead Orthodontic Practice, we understand that dental treatment can be intimidating, especially for those with dental anxiety or phobia. That’s why our team works hard to create a comfortable and welcoming environment for all of our patients.
We offer a range of orthodontic treatments, including Invisalign and clear braces, which can be less intimidating than traditional metal braces. Invisalign is a popular alternative to metal braces that uses clear, removable aligners to straighten teeth. This treatment option is virtually invisible and can be removed for eating and cleaning, making it a convenient and comfortable option for many patients.
If you or a loved one is experiencing dental anxiety or phobia and is in need of orthodontic treatment, we’re here to help. To learn more about our services or to schedule a consultation, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.