There are a lot of phobias out there. The fear of sharks (galeophobia), the fear of heights (acrophobia) and even the fear of flying on airplanes (aerophobia) are just a few common ones people experience. But one common fear that we don’t hear a lot about is odontophobia, or fear of the dentist. How common is odontophobia? Believe it or not, an estimated 75 percent of adults have some level of fear of visiting the dentist – and that fear can keep many people from seeing their dentist regularly.
While it is recommended you visit the dentist at least one to two times per year, many people simply don’t – in fact, one survey reported that 12 percent of adults had not visited the dentist in over five years! While the survey did not address why those adults did not attend regular dental exams, fear probably plays a part in some cases.
So, what can you do if you’re afraid of visiting the dentist but know your oral health needs it? Here are some tips from Dr. Mazhari to help make your dental exam go smoothly and without fear or anxiety!
Simply breathing may not seem like it does much to ease anxiety, but studies have shown that breathing exercises do work because they slow your heart rate. To practice simple breathing exercises that will reduce stress, breathe in and then breathe out slowly. According to Psychology Today, slow breathing has been proven to work better than deep breathing because it does not cause the anxiety deep breathing sometimes causes.
Another way you can take your mind off dental phobia is to distract yourself while you’re in the dental chair. Listening to music on your headphones or streaming a TV show or movie can calm your nerves and take your attention off what’s happening in your mouth.
Whether you’re an oil devotee or not sure if they’re all people claim they are, essential oils do work for some people, and they’re certainly worth a try if you have serious anxiety or dental fears. Lavender is a great calming essential oil that has been found to help people relax and sleep. You can research different oils and find out what they’re good for and choose your own scent.
For those with high dental anxiety, relaxation dentistry is a great option offered by Dr. Mazhari. Relaxation dentistry uses oral conscious sedation to produce a twilight effect that allows you to control your body but be relaxed and pain free during your procedure. For more serious procedures, anesthesia is also available.
To learn more about relaxation dentistry, please contact Dr. Mazhari’s office by calling 703-212-9622.