Understanding Dentophobia

Alpharetta, Georgia – Have you been putting off orthodontic treatment due to your fear of the orthodontist? You’re not alone. Dentophobia is a relatively common phenomenon that keeps some patients from visiting the dentist or orthodontist due to their intense fear. But don’t let that fear keep you from properly caring for your teeth.

“Your mouth is intricately related to the rest of your body,” says Dr. Nima Hajibaik, an Alpharetta Orthodontist. “Periodontal disease and other oral health issues have been linked to serious health problems, such as heart issues and even stroke. You should be regularly visiting your dentist to stay up to date on cleanings and have any other problems treated right away. But you should also be sure you have any orthodontic issues corrected – crooked and misaligned teeth aren’t just unsightly, they can affect the health of your entire mouth.”

So what exactly causes dentophobia? The causes can be as different as the people it affects. Some patients may associate their orthodontic visits with past experiences that were painful. The patient may suffer from an anxiety disorder that can heighten their apprehension. For the orthodontist, it is important to understand what has caused the patient’s fear in order to help them overcome it, and prevent it from being passed on to their children.

Some studies suggest that children who suffer from dentophobia may actually learn the fear from their parents. This is especially the case if a mother exhibits signs of dentophobia. Children can also suffer from dentophobia if they have a propensity toward fear in general or have had a previous bad experience with the dentist or orthodontist.

Dentophobia is one reason why choosing the right orthodontist is so important. You should always be sure your orthodontist is aware of your fear and willing to work with you to help you overcome that fear. This is especially true for children, to ensure that they overcome their dentophobia early and to set them up for a lifetime of good oral health.

“We take the comfort of each of our patients very seriously,” says Dr. Hajibaik, whose Johns Creek orthodontics practice serves patients of all ages. “We know that sitting in an orthodontist’s chair can be a cause for apprehension for many people, even those who don’t normally suffer from dentophobia. We offer an environment that is warm and inviting, so that from the moment you set foot in our office, you feel relaxed and at home. And we take great care to keep our patients comfortable throughout the treatment process, using pain control and comfort measures to help our patients.”

One of the most important things a patient can do is speak openly with their orthodontist about their fears. An orthodontist can’t make accommodations for you if they are unaware that there is an issue. It’s also important to let your orthodontist know if you or your child suffers from a behavioral, mood or anxiety disorder prior to treatment. These disorders can influence the way you and the dentist interact, so always be honest with the orthodontist so he or she will best know how to offer treatment.

“Because we serve both adults and children, we take the time to get to know our patients,” says Dr. Hajibaik. “This can be especially important for our younger patients. Once they feel comfortable with us, it will be easier to perform whatever orthodontic treatment they may need. We treat each patient as an individual, and take the time to get to know how to best interact with each of our patients. This helps us gain their trust and reassurance so we can provide the best care possible.”

It’s important that you choose an orthodontist like Dr. Hajibaik who will allow you to voice your concerns, even in the middle of a procedure. Knowing your orthodontist has an open ear can help you feel more at ease. Never be afraid to ask questions about a procedure, and be sure your orthodontist thoroughly explains what he or she is going to do at your appointment. Knowing what to expect can help calm your nerves. And be sure your orthodontist is willing to take breaks during a procedure if you need them.

A good orthodontist will work with you to help you overcome your fear. A warm and welcoming environment filler with friendly staff and an orthodontist who is willing to listen can go a long way in helping you become more comfortable in the orthodontist’s chair.

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