Dental Fillings Phobia


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Dental fillings are a relatively commonplace procedure, but they do suffer from a certain stigma that can cause and/or fuel phobias specific to the treatment. The fear of dental fillings stem from a number of different issues, each of which will be discussed here.

What is a dental filling and why do I need one?

There are many dental procedures that take place quite regularly, and dental fillings are one of these. A filling is basically designed to restore your teeth after they’ve been worn down after decay or trauma for example. Most of the time decay is the culprit here, particularly these days where the foods available to us are so high in sugars and acids that, over time, adversely affect our teeth.

In the event of tooth decay your dentist will let you know about it and what areas have been affected, and after this discussion, he or she will explain your treatment options. Generally speaking your dentist will plan to remove the decayed region of your teeth by means of a drill. The resulting gap in your teeth is then filled, hence the term ‘filling’. If your situation is more urgent then temporary fittings can be provided, but these will need to be replaced by the more durable permanent fillings that take a bit longer to put in. The material that makes a filling is called an Amalgam, which is tough and durable as it is a mixture of different of metals. You might want to opt for tooth coloured fillings if the affected area is particularly visible, however these are less durable than the Amalgam option.

Fillings are routinely done successfully worldwide, and the technologies that allow for the procedure to be done so well are constantly improving. So even if you are phobic, remember that people the world over regularly have fillings without incident.

Fear of dental fillings

In many ways dental fillings are the quintessential dental treatment, particularly in terms of fear, as many of the objects of dental phobias are involved. For example, this procedure includes common devices and methods like local anaesthesia (and hence needles), drilling, lying back in the dentist’s chair for some time and hence potentially suffering from the unpleasant sensation of a loss of control or fear of gagging.

These are all fears which affect a huge number of people, and can stem from early traumatic experiences or the stigma that dental procedures bear in society today. These fears can have quite a negative effect on your life if they keep you away from attending regular dental appointments that maintain your oral health. If you find yourself suffering from any one of these phobias, then it is definitely a good idea to either discuss it with your dentist or GP to develop a plan to deal with your fears.

Ways of dealing with the fear of dental fillings

There are a number of diverse ways of dealing with a fear of dental fillings. These can be quite general, addressing a fear of dentistry as a whole, like the practice of gentle dentistry. This is a step by step process in which your dentist eases you into the business of treatment, explaining everything to you and trying to make the experience as easy and enjoyable as possible. Or they can be more specific, addressing the root causes of your fears or the specific aspects of the treatment you might be afraid of.

These can include counselling or therapy from a qualified psychologist who is able to address and deal with underlying fears that can be the cause of your phobia. Or if you are afraid of something like the drill, your dentist can use an alternative, like air abrasion, which doesn’t involve a drill and is much less noisy and intimidating, or slowly acclimatise you to the drilling process. At the end of the day, your dentist is there to help you, and if you suffer from a phobia, discussing it with him or her is likely to yield a solution


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