Dental Psychology – Fear, Anxiety, Trauma, Intrusion, Cognitive, Outlook

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Healthy quote | Issue | Causes | Symptoms | Remedies | Alternatives | Approach | Outlook | Overview


A dentist-patient relationship can be overly complicated.


Dentistry practice includes compliance with recommended oral health, physical exams on the very young till aged individuals, coping with patients, upkeep, sales and marketing, and consultations.


It remains a challenging environment for experienced, professional dentists to overcome this problem.


Continue reading to explore the real-time challenges faced in the dentistry world.



Both the dentist and patients experienced dental psychology – trauma.


Since each patient’s profile is unique, all dentists need to deal with dental and non-dental problems, fear, anger management, stress, biting pain, and new psychological encounters regularly.


In the eyes of a patient, you might experience dental anxiety, psychological intrusion, dental trauma injuries, phobia, and other oral health concerns.


Clinical psychologists work alongside with dentists to improve patient’s oral health by overcoming dental anxiety and phobia via cognitive-behavioral therapy and alternative therapies to better manage dentist-patient relational contracts.


Today’s healthy quote, “Anxiety prevents you from seeking dental treatment. Seek immediate assistance from a psychologist or counsellor to help you deal with your anxiety”


Dental Psychology – Fear, Anxiety, Trauma, Intrusion, Cognitive, Outlook – Healthaon

I’m afraid of the dental chair, help!

credits – pixabay



A dental chair must not be avoided.


There’s a link between oral health and mental health.


If you know the dental procedures – paying a visit to your local dental clinic for a physical exam – the norm of at least 2 consultation visits a year often sends shivers down the spine.


However, a beautiful set of teeth helps to reduce mental issues like schizophrenia, anorexia, substance abuse, and depression – all been associated with tooth decay and gum disease.


To visit or not to visit the dentist, the struggle to go to your dental clinic nearest to you is real.



Psychology plays a vital role in going to your dentist for regular dental checks. Learn more about the different causes of psychological concerns that may hinder your trip to nearby dental clinics.


Common causes of dental psychology include:


Dental Anxiety and Phobia

Fear of pain. Dental pain is a common reason for avoiding any dentist. Such a fear derives from an individual’s (bias) perception including reading online reviews, stories, friends, and family members.

Traumatic experiences. Past experience holds certain weight on your next visit to the dentist. Regardless of cause, unpleasant or painful, the actual service delivery may result to overthinking like dental trauma.

Apparatus concern. People generally are terrified of needles, especially when inserted in the mouth even with the help of numbing effects.

Psychological intrusion. Direct access to the mouth, physical closeness to a personalized area, is often viewed as invasive embarrassment and loss of personal space – complete conscious or sub-consciously.

Anxiety. Personal phobias, such as agoraphobia or claustrophobia, create a situation where dental services cannot be performed at their fullest potential.


Trust issues

Fear of side effects. Prescriptions, generally local anesthetics or iv sedations, may induce potential side effects such as prolonged numbness, blurry vision, dizziness, nausea, or wanting to faint.

Medical dental facilities. First impression matters. Walking into a dental clinic, especially for the first time, you may judge the outcome through the tools and equipment, clinic hygiene, and other factors.

Loss of control. Emotional triggers happen during dental consultations. You might feel the dentist is not friendly enough, lack of knowledge and experience, or bad postures while sitting on a dental chair.


Dental Trauma Injuries (DTIs)    

Pain and horror stories. A quick check on search engine networks unveiled a colossus amount of traumatic dental experiences from numerous dentists practicing dentistry.

Past bad experiences. Even if you scheduled an appointment with a new dentist, recommended by your friends or relatives, bad tooth extraction experiences are still retained in your dental psychology.

Sense of helplessness. Renewed bleeding is a common problem some patients faced. It may or may not be the dentist’s fault, but you’ll remember this dental trauma injury inflicted in the name of the dentist.

Generalized anxiety, Pre- and post-traumatic stress disorder are real, regardless of whether you have been to a local dentist clinic or a reputable dental brand. The fear of dental injuries remains real.



A study from NCBI revealed more than 12% of the US population suffered from extreme dental fear, and 36% of them accounts for dental anxiety – statistics shown an increased in % of dental fear year-on-year.


Common symptoms of dental psychology include:


Signs & Symptoms of Dental Anxiety

Sweating. Sweat is an outcome of an activity, such as seating on a dental chair.

Palpitations. An increased in heartbeat (tachycardia) and pulse rate show signs of palpitations.

Low blood pressure. Dizziness, drowsiness, or nausea (syncope).

Visible distress. Crying, sniffing, or signs of panic.  

Withdrawal symptoms. Humor, aggression, screaming, or nervousness.


Signs & Symptoms of Dental Phobia

Sleep disorders. Trouble sleeping the night before a (physical) dental exam.

Tension. Feelings of nervousness outside of the dental operating room.

Sub-conscious attacks. Overthinking, feeling ill, or wanting to cry at the thought of visiting the dentist.

Uneasiness. Not wanting any dental tools or equipment to be placed inside the mouth.


Signs & Symptoms of Endogenic Dental Stress

Angry thoughts. Feelings to frustrations and post-traumatic disorders after the dental cleaning.

Negative experiences. Post-dental injuries and forced re-visits to the local dentist clinic again.

Compulsive disorders. An obsession over dental clinic hygiene albeit good reviews mentioned online.



Coping mechanisms are strategically in positioned with dental psychology. To better manage dental anxiety, phobia, intrusion, or other common dental psychological problems, it’s important to let your trusted dentist to work out probable solutions and mitigate your dental health concerns.


Common coping mechanisms include:


Coping with Dental Anxiety or Phobia

Deep breathing. Deep-breathing or taking a deep breath yields an almost immediate effect.

Mediation. A calm and tranquil mind build a resilient mindset.

Guided imagery. A proven method of addressing a patient’s concern.

Communication. A talk before the actual work helps. Or, raise your hand as a signal to ease tension.


Coping with Dental Stress

Distractions. Watch a movie, stare at a blank space, or listen to music.

Progressive muscle relaxation. Treat the root problem and sealed up the wound.

Hypnosis. A trance to ensure the patient in a relaxed state of mind.

Education. Dental education is a highly effective solution.



Apart from organized cognitive-behavioral therapies, medicines also can act as stress-coping and pain-relief mechanisms. To enhance your overall dental experience, especially with severe dental anxiety or phobia, let your dentist concur to the usage of medically approved medications.


Relative analgesia (Painkiller)

An analgesic, a type of pain reliever, provides relief from acute pain. It works by blocking pain signals sent to the brain, interference of brain’s interpretation of signals, and temporarily stops the brain from responding to those pain signals.


Happy gas or laughing gas is an official dental prescription used by your dentist. It’s a form of nitrous oxide (gaseous state) where you will feel relax during the dental treatment. A mask is fitted into your face, takes effect within a few minutes, and wears of quickly.


You’ll in an awakened state but experiencing calm and tranquil. It’s possible to perform hand signals, hear the conversations of the dentist and dental assistants, but not necessarily remembering everything once the visit has ended.


Oral Relieving Medication (Anxiolytic Pills)

Anxiolytic medications, such as temazepam, at times are prescribed by dentists or doctors to relieve dental anxiety. A small, laser-focused single dose is usually done an hour prior to the dental appointment.


Oral-relief pills are only to be approved by your assigned dentist. It’s a highly effective treatment for acute procedural anxiety. As much as it inhibits anxiety, the effect can affect other parts of the body. Get someone to drive and fetch you from the dental office.


Conscious Sedation

Sedation, intravenous sedation or iv sedation, is a well-established technique used in dentistry to calm the patient before and during a dental procedure – sometimes referred to as “sleep dentistry”.


This type of sedation effect is through a drip-feed into a vein of the arm or hand. To request for sedative effects, IV sedation is only done through a dental seditionist – a dentist undergone advanced training) – or an approved anaesthetist.


However, patients with pre-existing medical conditions may not be allowed to undertake any iv sedations. Talk to your dentist for more information about numbing effects and withdrawal symptoms.


Local Anaesthesia (General Numbing)

Treatment under a local anaesthetic is legal shortcut to wipe out dental anxiety or phobia. It produces a “knockout” effect where the patient lost conscious during the dental procedure.


Before this numbing solution is prescribed, you may need to undergo pre-operative visit and post-operative visit to your assigned dentists. An assigned anaesthetist will assess your prevailing conditions and overall body prior to the general anaesthetic.


However, general anaesthetia does not eliminate any of the dental worries, and any further post-dental injuries may result to dental traumatic injuries – a psychology problem in dental care.



Dental anxiety is a common problem, but know that there’re ways to overcome it.


Dental phobia is less common, and clarity may be required from your dentist to work with you on solutions to better manage the issue.


Learn more about other dental care and oral health issues that might be of concern to you.

Tooth Diagnosis | Dental Psychology | Dental Fracture | Cavities | Abscessed Tooth | Dry Sockets | Tooth Decay | Infection | Extraction | Gum Diagnosis | Dental Anxiety | Gum Infection | Dental Filling | Dental Flossing | Toothache | Teeth Brushing 101 | Root Canal | Root Canal Anxiety | Wisdom Tooth Relief | Home Tooth Extraction | Toothache Causes | Tooth Sensitivity | Emergency Dental


Always communicate with your dentist about coping mechanisms which make the best fit for your individual patient profile. Seek second opinion if you’re uncomfortable on certain issues raised by your local dentists or anesthetists.



Psychology: Talk to a psychologist or counsellor to better handle anxiety problems.

Observations: gum diseases, tooth cavities, bacteria infections, cracks, swellings, or renewed bleeding.

Oral care: toothbrushes, toothpastes, mouthwashes, whitening agents, dental flosses, filaments etc.

Dental tips: call up your local dentist -> set an appointment date -> attend regular dental checkups etc.

Healthy practice: avoid artificial ingredients, unhealthy eating, smoking, irregular brushing habits etc.

Health and wellness: 30-minutes fitness, home workouts, calcium-rich foods and beverages, sleep etc.

Regurgitate: Dental Psychology – Fear, Anxiety, Trauma, Intrusion, Cognitive, Outlook – Healthaon

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  1. Amela

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