What Causes Dental Phobia and Anxiety?
Dental phobia is considered more serious than anxiety. It leaves people terrified and panic-stricken. However, they are unable to do much about it in the long run because of their irrational fear.
People with dental phobia have an awareness that the fear is totally unfounded, yet they cannot help being petrified every time they go for treatment or examination. They exhibit classic avoidance behavior; that is, they will do everything possible to avoid getting any dental procedure done.
Common Signs of Dental Phobia
Most common signs of dental phobia include:
- Difficulty sleeping the night before visiting the dentist
- Feelings of nervousness that escalate while waiting in the dental office
- Feeling physically at the mere thought of visiting the dentist
- Intense uneasiness at the idea of having a dental procedure done or visiting the dentist
Causes of Dental Phobia and Anxiety
Some of the common causes of dental phobia and anxiety include:
Fear of Pain
Fear of pain is a very common reason for avoiding the dentist. This fear usually stems from an early dental experience that was unpleasant or painful, but thanks to advances in dentistry made over the years, most of today’s procedures are considerably less painful and pain-free.
Fear of Injections
The fear of needles can be a difficult thing to overcome, especially for those who have an intense dislike or phobia. That’s why dental offices try their best to make the experience as easy and comfortable as possible—from administering anesthesia beforehand all the way down to providing relaxing music in your waiting room.
Fear of Anesthetics
Many people are terrified of needles, especially when inserted into their mouth. Beyond this fear, others fear that the anesthesia has not taken effect yet or the dose given is not enough to eliminate any pain before the dental procedure begins.
Feelings of Loss of Control or Helplessness
It’s not really surprising that so many people feel insecure and vulnerable sitting in a dentist chair, especially when they can’t see what’s going on.
Loss of Personal Space and Embarrassment
There is a long list of reasons why people feel uneasy about the dentist. Some may not like physical contact with someone they don’t know, others might be ashamed to admit their teeth are in bad shape because it reflects on them as being irresponsible and lazy.
Dental anxiety can be an incredibly scary and uncomfortable experience. However, the key to coping with your fears is talking about them with your dentist before you have a procedure done.
Dental anxiety can be hard to deal with and live through. But, if you speak openly about your fears to the dentist they will know how best to make sure that it’s a comfortable experience for you.
If this fear is not taken seriously by your local dental clinic then find one which does take these concerns more seriously because in turn, everyone benefits from a less anxious patient.
If lack of control is one of your primary stressors, it is recommended that you ask your dentist about any treatment that can effectively ease your fears and apprehensions. You can also ask your dentist to explain what happens at every stage of the procedure.
This can be very beneficial as it can help you mentally prepare ahead of time. Another helpful strategy would be to create a signal (i.e., raising your hand) if you want your dentist to stop immediately.
You can also use said signal if you are uncomfortable, would like to catch your breath, or if you need to rinse your mouth.