Dental anxiety is one thing, but dental phobia, also called odontophobia, is something else entirely. The very thought of going to the dentist sends chills up the spine for those who suffer from it, and their irrational fear could even lead to serious, long-term, or irreversible consequences.
This is exactly what happened to Sue, a 56-year-old mom from Essex who revealed that she came up with an inventive — and disturbing — way to hide her gappy smile after ten years of not visiting the dentist.
Chewing Gum on Teeth
On a TV show in Channel 4, Never Seen a Doctor, Sue said she placed chewed pieces of gum in her mouth to hide her 17 missing teeth and give the illusion that she had a full set.
There is an even more disturbing part of the story, however. She dips the chewing gum in coffee to make it look more realistic.
Sue spoke candidly about it, saying that the ‘quick fix’ made her teeth rot and her confidence plummet. In fact, for years, she did not have a job and barely left the house.
Overcoming Dental Anxiety
For individuals suffering from the same phobia, there is hope, according to The VRDC. Talking to the dentist is the first step to overcoming dental fear. It is important to make sure to work with them to make the appointment as comfortable as possible; the dentist should explain the entire procedure beforehand and introduce each step while the procedure is being performed.
The Dental Health Foundation also suggests practicing controlled breathing. This relaxes the body and shifts focus to other things. The easiest breathing technique is inhaling and exhaling through the nose — three seconds breathing in, and three seconds breathing out.
Finding a dentist that offers oral sedation is also worth considering.
A dental chair may combine the sum of all fears — pain, needles, loud noises. No one can blame you for it, but remember that not visiting the dentist every now and then can lead to serious dental, mental and emotional consequences later on.