The Fear that Hurts the Most

At the top of the list of self-defeating fears is dental phobia.

Fears are a part of being human. Fear is the mental and biological response to stimuli, real or imagined, and it is designed to act as a defense mechanism. The reason we experience fear is for our own protection. However, fears don’t always do their job correctly.

There are two main directions of misguided fears. The first one is being afraid of something that can’t or won’t hurt you. These are pointless; there’s no protecting benefit to the fear of clowns, for example. Fears like this are unfortunate. They’re unnecessary, but cause mental anguish and biological stress responses.

The second type of misdirected fear is being afraid of something that is actually good for you. You can see the inherent trouble with, say, a fear of eating. We need food to live. These fears are the most harmful because they prevent the sufferer from accomplishing some necessary function. Ironically, by causing harm, these fears are the epitome of the very thing they’re designed to protect against.

Regular dental checkups and cleanings are a vital part of your oral health. Unfortunately, fear of the dentist is all too common.  Some studies say, 20 percent of those who don’t go to the dentist suffer with dental phobia.

Even though it’s more rational to be afraid of what will happen to you if you don’t keep up with your dental visits, your irrational fear may be telling you to stay away. Problems such as periodontal disease, tooth damage, TMJ dysfunction, and oral cancer only get worse when unknown or ignored.

A psychiatric approach is a proven solution to dental phobia. The British Dental Journal (BDJ) recently reported that a single session of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can help a person overcome dental fear and anxiety.

Dr. Definnis and our team are sensitive and empathetic to dental phobia, and we strive to create a comfortable and positive environment. For years, he has provided various levels of dental sedation; he is educated and experienced in managing dental fears. We encourage you to sit down and talk with us prior to any procedure. Ask about sedation to ease your anxiety at your dental visit. You will gain confidence in your safety and our support of your well-being, your oral health will no longer be in danger, and you will conquer your fear!

Call Dr. Thomas J. DeFinnis at Wynnewood Dental Arts in Wynnewood, PA at (610) 228-4452.

Dental Fear, Sedation

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