There is probably no other phobia on Earth that’s as common as dental phobia. However, it’s not the drills or the feeling of claustrophobia that frighten many people, but rather the gagging (as in the regurgitating spasm) that they experience in most dental visits. Researchers from West Virginia University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln now believe that this factor explains why about 45 percent of American adults have dental phobia in the first place. The Huffington Post explains further:
“In addition, the trigger for gagging also seemed to play a role in how likely someone was to be afraid of the dentist. Specifically, people whose gag reflexes were triggered by “less-intrusive stimuli” (such as the dentist putting his or her fingers in the patient’s mouth) had greater levels of fear, compared with those whose gag reflexes were triggered by things like dental instruments or the bitewing radiograph films.”
Whether it is caused by one’s gag reflexes or not, dental phobia is something that needs to be taken seriously. Adults who constantly exhibit this fear are far less likely to visit a dentist in the first place, resulting in poor oral hygiene and health in the long run. This is why renowned dentists in the U.S. resort to a variety of means to counteract this fear, no matter how simple or complex these means are. For example: Dr. James DeFinnis, a renowned dentist in Scranton, PA, makes it a point to approach his patients with a friendly and gentle demeanor, knowing that these two traits have a calming effect on even the most anxious person.
The factors that cause dental phobia aren’t exactly clear, but psychologists believe that the fear itself most likely stems from the sense of powerlessness people feel when strapped into the dentist’s chair. This also explains why gag reflexes are quite common among dental phobics, because gagging is one way that the human body attempts to take control of matters by rejecting whatever it is that was placed in the mouth. To prevent these negative emotions and reflexes from showing, dentists are advised to make sure that their patients receive as much comfort and pampering as they need.
In the end, it’s best if dental phobics visited a skilled sedation dentist in Dallas, PA to fight their fear. Such a professional will use the right agents to calm their patients, thus ensuring a smooth and worry-free appointment.