Odontophobia - or dental anxiety

Do you get sweaty palms and racing heartbeat when you hear the word


Are you finding excuses for cancelling the appointment?
If you can answer yes to these questions, you probably have the same aversion towards dentists as 40% of the population. Dental anxiety – or odontophobia – is very common. The anxiety can be based in traumatic childhood experiences with dentists, or simply in the general perception of dental treatment as being very unpleasant. 

A vicious circle

For one out of ten, the dental anxiety is so distinct that it affects their lives. The anxiety holds back the person from seeking dental assistance when it is needed. As a result, the dental troubles worsen, the pains aggravate and the need for treatment becomes even more necessary. It is a vicious circle.

Narcosis at the dentist’s

In order to avoid the unpleasant situation, many patients ask the dentist if they can be treated under narcosis. However, more gentle methods do exist and should be emphasised. People suffering from severe anxiety can seek professional help to come to terms with the anxiety and relieve the dental fear forever. People experiencing a milder form of odontophobia can make use of several possibilities to break the vicious circle without narcosis.


It is important to tell the dentist about it if you are suffering from dental anxiety. In this way the dentist can organise the treatment accordingly. Extra time may be set aside so the dentist can take his time explaining and making pauses during the treatment. Sedatives can help the nervous patient relax and they only cost a fraction of the price of narcosis. Moreover, narcosis can be harmful for some people’s health, whereas sedatives are gentler.


Yoga and music

Besides the dentists calming words and explaining behaviour, other methods can help the patient bring down the pulse and think of more pleasant things. Even before the treatment, the patient can perform relaxing exercises as know from yoga or ante-natal classes. If the dentist agrees, the patient can also bring his or her favourite music to the dental chair.

Confidence is important

For most people with dental anxiety, the best cure is to have a good experience with the dentist. One good experience can dedramatise future dental visits. Confidence in the dentist is everything. Trust is built up when the dentist takes his time to explain the treatment and takes a break when the patient needs one. Dentists take odontophobia very seriously. They want the treatment to progress as smoothly as possible. When OuchMyTooth visits the clinics, it is also noticed how the dentists act before, during and after the treatment.

Text : [Artikkel_bund]

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