Mall of Georgia Dentistry's Blog

"Making you smile from the inside out"

Dental Phobia Fix? December 6, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 4:40 pm

Being nervous or anxious before going to the dentist is is not rare, so if that sounds like you, you are not alone. But if you avoid regular dental check-ups or ignore tooth pain out of fear or anxiety, your dental health is likely to suffer. What can be done to help make going to get the dental care you need a more manageable or easy feat?  A new study offers one potential solution.
Researchers in the UK found that fear of the dentist can be alleviated by participating in cognitive behavior therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a psychotherapy technique that can effectively relieve a variety of anxiety-related disorders for many people. For this study, the researchers surveyed patients at a clinic run by the King’s College London Dental Institute Health Psychology Service, asking them to report their levels of various psychological issues including dental anxiety, as well as answer oral health-related questions and associated quality of life. Almost all of the participants reported that they had problems with their teeth, mouth, or gums that affected their daily lives and quality of living. All of them also scored high on an anxiety scale regarding specific fears relating to some aspect of receiving dental care. The most common fears were connected to injections and dental drilling. These patients then began receiving cognitive behavioral therapy, and after an average of 5 therapy sessions, 79% of them were able to have dental treatment without requiring sedation or anxiety medication. Many of the patients were found to have generalized anxiety and psychological issues beyond just fear of the dentist.
Experts believe that phobias and fears are learned behaviors, and that anything learned can be unlearned and replaced with something positive. For a variety of reasons such as cost and time, we realize that not everyone will be able to easily receive professional therapy for their dental anxiety, so if you have dental phobia, talk to our office about your anxiety before scheduling your appointment. Being up front about your fear or anxiety allows Dr. Vancil and the Mall of Georgia Dentistry team to adapt treatment to your needs. Please don’t let dental anxiety keep you from taking great care of your teeth by getting needed preventative and restorative treatments done. It will keep you smiling in the long run!


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