DENTAL PHOBIA

Dr.Krishna Prasad Sreedhar

 

In modern times no body can avoid a visit to a Dentist. However, many fear a visit to Dentists as all kinds of pain and uncomfortable experiences are anticipated. Some people have intense fear and avoid going to a Dentist until emergency forces them to go. These people, who out of fear cannot even entertain the thought of visiting a Dentist, are suffering from ‘Dental phobia’. A phobia is an intense irrational fear of normal or innocent situation, object or person.

People who have ‘Dental phobia’ cannot visit a Dentist. This then becomes a serious health problem of the oral cavity.

It is estimated that children and women are the worst hit by Dental Phobia. It has been found that at least 25% of people of all civilized countries are highly tensed up about visiting a Dentist. They do risk their oral hygiene.

In India, a study by Rao, Sequeire and Peter (1997) tried to determine the prevalence and characteristics of dental fear among 304 college students. They found that feeling tense was the most frequently reported difficulty. Among the dental situations, the needle and the drill were the most fear-provoking agents. About 51% of the students reported some fear of dentistry with females more fearful than males and dental students more fearful than medical students. This study also suggested that family and friends could influence dental fear.

Among the rural people the percentage may be certainly less than 51%, as they may not know the complications. Nevertheless, it is likely to be around 25%, which is also a sizable number.

As oral hygiene is important it is necessary that fear of dentistry be dispelled with. People should visit a Dentist if oral condition demands a visit.

Psychologists could be of great help in this context as they treat fear, anxiety and phobia successfully. Psychologists have a number of techniques with which they can reduce fear and anxiety of any nature. It has been found that training in Relaxation followed by graded visualization of the dreaded situation under relaxation (Systematic Desensitization) has been of invaluable help to people with phobias.

People who suffer from Dental Phobia can be helped in big way by training them to undergo ‘Relaxation and Visualization's of the Dentist’s chair and the medical activities that follow.

Thus if you are afraid of visiting a Dentist, why don’t you undergo a Relaxation training by Psychologists? It has been observed that patients who undergo training by Psychologists have less bleeding, need less anesthesia, less medication and are more cooperative and happier with Dentists.

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