Dental Fear in adults

adult dental



To feel anxiety or fear of the dentist is very common. Half of all adults say they feel uneasy, and five percent have such a strong fear that it may be called dental phobia. Then fear can also affect other areas of life.

The fear is mainly due to a perceived lack of control over the situation. A dentist also means things that can cause stress, such as lying down, get a hard object against the teeth and exposed to noise and bright light.Sometimes fear can have with previous negative experiences to do, or that you have been affected by a family member or acquaintance.

Fear is a common reason for not going to the dentist regularly.

Most people with dental phobia can be cured.


If you are afraid, but manages to go to the dentist should tell you about the fear. Along with the dentist can you create positive experiences through careful treatment and exercise to control the situation.

If you are very scared or have anxiety disorder is often combined several methods. The most common are
• slow habituation
• relaxation exercises
• nitrous oxide or anti-anxiety medication
• therapy.

Dentist or psychologist will decide which treatment is appropriate in each case.

When to seek medical care?

If fear makes you unable to go to the dentist regularly should try to grasp the situation. In the first place you should turn to dental care, but if it feels lighter, you can start by contacting a medical center. You can also contact the dental units located in all counties and regions.

You can always call the medical advice for advice on where to turn.


What is that?

Everything from anxiety to severe anxiety disorder

Going to the dentist is one of the ten things people usually fear most. About half of all adults say they feel discomfort and anxiety when visiting the dentist. Among people who do not go to the dentist regularly is fear one of the most common reasons for not going.

Barely five percent have called phobic dental fear, that is strong fear that makes you completely avoid dental care. It is one of the most common phobias, which can sometimes lead to not work well in other situations in life.

Formerly called dental fear is often the fear of dentists. But nowadays used dental anxiety or dental treatment fear, because it is generally not the dentist without treatment they are afraid.

Dental fear

More common in young and in women

When it comes to dental anxiety in adult says women more often than men because they are dental fear. It is not clear if this means that women really are the savior, or if they are easier to admit that they are afraid. Dental Fear in adults is most common in young adults and tends to decrease as you get older.

Family and friends influence

There is not any specific property of dental fear. It is common in people who are a little more sensitive, mentally or socially, which has a more precarious situation in life or who have little harder to deal with stressful situations.

Sensitivity can do that more easily influenced by family or acquaintances. It is usual to be affected by dental fear parents or siblings. For a child, it can sometimes even be enough fellow horror stories of being afraid.

Lack of control creates fear

Especially important when developing dental fear is that you feel a great lack of control in the treatment situation.In the dentist’s chair has to surrender a part of the responsibility for one’s own body to the dental staff, while there is rarely enough time to get to know the person who will treat.

Frightened people can often tell how they felt run over and forced into treatment. Among older dental fear is not uncommon stories about dental care for hands-coercion. Such situations are rare today, but the experience of the lack of control can create fear although there has been no coercion.

Dental treatment is also extra strenuous by fully or partially taken away from their ability to express opinions and desires with your mouth.

People react with fear in some situations

The evidence suggests that people respond to stress and fear in certain situations. Probably it has its basis in man’s earlier development, when some reactions were useful and contributed to survival. In the modern man shows this as a tendency to be scared and stressed in situations similar to those that once were truly dangerous.It may be that dental situation provides conditions that can easily cause stress. It can for example be about loud noises, bright lights, lie down with no escape opportunity and getting a hard object against the teeth.

You may feel discomfort even if it does not hurt

They often experience pain when the dentist drills, stun, rotfyller or pulling out a tooth. There are treatments that can be painful, but they are also associated with other impressions that can be unpleasant.

Drilling involves vibrations and loud noises. The anesthesia means that you get a shot, and it provides an altered sensation in the numbed area. Many experience the feeling unpleasant. During root canal used sharps in the mouth and there is scraping sound. Additionally attached a rubber sheet over the tooth that can create a sense of confinement. When your dentist pulls out teeth occur sounds and feelings of pressure and the press, even stunning. All these impressions can easily become a frightening experience, even if you’ve got a working anesthesia.

Fear creates pain

Pain is a complex sensory input. Because of fear can experience that it hurts even though the dentist has given proper anesthesia. People who have been cured of their dental fear usually able to confirm this, they notice that the anesthetic works better when the fear is reduced.

dental pain

Easy to be afraid – hard to get rid of the fear

For some dental fear is enough to have been in occasional treatments experienced negative for that you should be afraid. But in most added experience to experience so that it becomes increasingly fearful. Each treatment strengthens as it fears it already has, a vicious circle arises from past experiences allows one to experience new treatments becoming more negative.

It requires few bad experiences of negative emotions to arise while there is required many positive experiences to the fear will disappear. When dental phobia treatment requires, therefore, generally more visits for a long time in order to get a positive result.

Dental fear gets worse teeth with time

At a young age are no differences between the teeth of dental fear and in others. But with age disparity, such as dental fear often has lost a little more teeth and have more tooth decay. Since they rarely received the dental care they need, they often have fewer repairs and more olagade holes.

Fear can affect your whole life

Dental fear that manages to go to the dentist regularly rarely receive any particular problems besides the fear and stress during visits to the dentist.

Tandvårdsfobiker that has avoided dental care for a long period ports however often in a vicious circle. Fear and anxiety makes it impossible to regularly go to the dentist and you start avoiding dental care. Gradually one becomes aware that one gets an increasing need of treatment, often also pain or discomfort from several areas of the mouth. You feel socially pressured and start to think that it shows that you have not been to the dentist in a long time. You worry about having bad breath and confidence begins to falter. Dental fear can thus become an issue that affects life in general and creates difficulties in dealing with others. It may for example feel hard at work, going out to eat or go to the cinema.


Diagnosis and treatment

Good to try to take the first step himself

Even if you are very afraid, there is help available. It is good if you try to take the first step yourself by contacting dentistry.

If you have no contact with a dentist or hygienist is the so-called dental units in all counties and regions can help to arrange treatment for fear if one needs it. To get in contact with the dental care unit they belong to, you can turn to the county or region you live in.

One can also call the doctor in order to know where to turn to for help.

Especially for dental care

Previously, the opportunities to get help with the treatment of dental fear limited, but now includes dental supports a special support for adults who are extremely dental fear. The rules may vary between counties, but in all counties terms that you can get the dental fear treated with the same fee and the cost ceiling that applies to ordinary care. For the most part also a part of the cost of dental care in the reimbursement system. A requirement for this is that the investigation and treatment is carried out in collaboration between dentistry and psychiatrist, psychologist or licensed psychotherapist. It is intended that the special aid to be used for the treatment of fear in the first place and the mending of teeth secondary.

Adult dental fear

What is extreme dental phobia?

One can get treatment for their dental fear if you go through an investigation and dental fear is deemed extreme.The investigation made by the dentist and such a psychologist. In addition, either that avoided dental care for a long time, that it had received dental treatment under general anesthesia because of dental phobia or a specific test has been shown to have strong dental fear. After investigation, formulated a treatment plan to be considered by the County Council to order the purity of dentistry.

Different types of treatment

For the most part combined different methods for dental phobia treatment. Different types of treatment are

  • addiction treatment
  • relaxation treatment
  • behavioral therapy
  • cognitive therapy
  • counseling
  • hypnosis
  • nitrous oxide treatment
  • medications that suppress anxiety.

Dental treatment under general anesthesia is usually not among the methods that cure dental phobia. General anesthesia can make you manage to go through a treatment if there is a great need for dental care, but then you still have to go into treatment for their phobia. Therefore included anesthesia only in exceptional circumstances in the particular dental care support.

Positive experiences are

Central to all processing of dental fear is that those who are afraid and your dentist is trying to create new, positive experiences of dental care. You build up a capacity to handle the treatment situation. Dental care is carried out in peace and quiet with full control of the dental fear. That way you can get used to managing dental treatment again, which is the goal. All other methods are tools to get there. Help The methods are mostly designed to reduce anxiety and fear through bodily relaxation or by affecting negative emotions, thoughts and experiences.

It is possible to get used to

If the fear is too strong, you can often start with the so-called clinical addiction treatment directly to the dentist.Many dental fear can exercise the students to handle the treatment situation and their own reactions. This is done through careful treatment which the dentist agree on a way to stop and control the treatment. The different processing steps are carried out step by step at a leisurely pace.

It is important to know what will happen in advance and that you go through each treatment step before being practiced or implemented. It is also important to be aware that you should not “stand out” with the treatment. If you feel uncomfortable you should instead cancel and start again after they talked about the experience. To squeeze through treatment can confirm the negative experiences you had before.

Relaxation Treatment

Since it generally spans when you are afraid, it’s good to learn some relaxation techniques that you can use at the dentist. There are many different methods to choose from. Methods that are easy to learn based mainly on breathing exercises and various forms of muscle relaxation.

Plain combining relaxation and habituation

One of the most common methods of treatment for phobia is called systematic desensitization. The method involves a combination of relaxation and habituation, and is often used in the treatment of dental fear. Systematic desensitization is based on the idea that systematic relaxation training in dental situation gradually reduces the fear until it disappears.

One must first learn effective relaxation method and then you train on retaining relaxation while you are having about different dental situations. It starts with things that are pretty easy to handle and will step by step up to what you originally thought was the hardest to bear. It can be done in the dentist’s chair, but if you suffer from severe dental phobia, it may be too strenuous. When used simulation of dental care in the imagination or using video. If you feel anxiety or stress, it is important to stay up. When you feel sufficiently relaxed, renewed again.


Negative thoughts and misconceptions corrected

Much of the fear that dental fear is experiencing based on negative thoughts and images, so-called cognitions.Cognitions is part of the image we have of ourselves and the world and we make judgments and interpretations based on them. If you are afraid it has been from the beginning completed negative images that make you feel and interpret dental more negative. It is thus important to change these thoughts so that you can see more realistic to treatment and their own reactions.

So-called cognitive therapy usually go out to go through and discuss dental treatment, moment by moment.Inaccurate perceptions and fears corrected and good strategies for how to do the treatment are discussed.Afterwards, a first treatment step in practice and evaluation purposes. If necessary, repeat the exercise before the treatment continues.

Various methods are combined

Desensitization and cognitive therapy is rarely pure treatment, but usually combined in various forms of so-called cognitive behavioral therapy. Was the focus of treatment should be determined by the individual’s needs. Even treatments that are designated as counseling and hypnosis treatment often have an element of this type. During hypnosis therapy is used, for example, both physical relaxation and cognitive elements.

nitrous Treatment

In dental treatment using nitrous oxide to get inhale a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide through a mask. The nitrous oxide is both calming and pain-dampening. During the treatment you are calmer, but fully conscious.Therefore, one can acquire the new experience in dental nitrous oxide creates. A good strategy is to gradually reduce the nitrous oxide so as to eventually handle most or all of the dental treatment without nitrous oxide.

Anti-anxiety medications

Sometimes the sedatives to produce a positive start to the addictive dental treatment or emergency, necessary dental care. For the most used anxiolytics diazepam type. Just as with the use of nitrous oxide, it is good if the dose is gradually reduced so as to eventually completely stop taking the medication.

Dental care under general anesthesia

Dental care under general anesthesia involves anesthetized by an anesthesiologist and dental care since performed without conscious. The treatment usually does not cure dental phobia, but has the advantage of very dentistry can be performed at one time. It can mean a new start and improve the ability to then manage dentistry that aims to reduce the fear. After the dental treatment should therefore proceed with the treatment of fear, so that you can eventually go to the dentist regularly as usual.

More than eight out of ten can be cured

Psychologists and dental professionals in collaboration provides the best combined expertise to take care of both dental fear and dental problems. With individually tailored therapies, more than eight out of ten of those who seek treatment are cured, even though most have avoided dental care for a long time and have great need of dental care. Especially good are the methods that begin with the treatment of fear and then gradually turns into custom dental care, which can ultimately be taken over by the general dentist.

Good to tell you that you are afraid

It is important to tell your dentist that you are afraid. This eliminates the need to hide their fear and expose themselves to things that can be a pain unnecessarily. Just to talk about the problems means that the fear becomes more manageable. It is also easier for the dentist to personalize the treatment. To talk about their fears usually mean that you get additional information about what is going to happen and thus better control over the treatment. It is also good to ask questions. What you know about will automatically become less afraid.

Ask for a break

Stress and fear are tough. You should ask for a break in dental treatment if they feel it necessary. You know you are stressed up physically, you can try yourself to practice on some simple relaxation method. One can, for example, concentrate on breathing calmly stomach. It may be helpful to ask the dental assistant or dentist to help remind you of this.

Ask for anesthesia

Treatment should be as painless as possible. It is better to take stunning than exposing themselves to painful treatments unnecessarily. It is wrong to steel himself and “persevere”. Each frightening and painful treatment reinforces the image of dentistry as something awkward and can motivate or increase fear. Trying to stand out with the goal of making dental treatment acceptable.

Where do you feel?

If one is afraid of dental care should first and foremost check with friends and acquaintances if they have any dentist to recommend. It is good to be open with that fear.

If you do not dare to try conservative treatment, you can ask for a referral to a dental clinic that specialises in treating dental fear. If it is unsuccessful, you can change dentists. If you do not dare go to a regular dentist you can call to any dental surgery or to the County Council to order the purity of dentistry and ask where to seek care.You can also get a referral, for example, a doctor and so help to get in touch with the right place in dentistry.

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