Odontophobia refers to the fear of dentistry and receiving dental care. It doesn’t sound irrational to me. In fact I am terrified of dentists. I took my 10 year old to the dentist and by the time I left, I was trembling and had difficulty breathing. It took every ounce of willpower not to snatch my little boy from the dentist’s chair and run for the safety of home.
Maybe not all of it was fear. We got a rather obnoxious young dentist with not a clue how to interact with children. He was rude and in desperate need of lessons about patient care. The trembling could also be me trying very hard to reign in my anger.
Research estimates that over 75% of adults experience some form of dental fear and about 10% has odontophobia.
My first memories of visiting the dentist were of a man with a mask. I couldn’t see his face. He kept mumbling into his mask and got irritated when I didn’t understand what he told me to do. Had any experience afterward changed my opinion of a dentist? No!
I had not once been to a dentist that actually could smile, make small talk or did anything to make you more relaxed. They always seem to be very serious and one more than one occasion rather creepy. I would rather face a horde of flesh eating zombies than ever go to a dentist.
I would like to know why? What makes them different than an ordinary physician? Is the part in their training where they learn about basic patient interaction neglected or is a dentist some foreign species with natural tendencies towards coldness and dissociation.
I will probably never know the answer. In the meantime I will keep searching for the elusive friendly dentist.
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