Dental anxiety is the uneasy feeling one experiences before or during dentist appointments. Dental phobia, on the other hand, is an extreme and serious fear of dental procedures. People with anxiety seek dental checkups but are sometimes reluctant unless they are coerced. Dental phobia causes complete disregard for dental check-ups and procedures. Reports show that 9% to 15% of Americans suffer from either dental anxiety or phobia.
Some of the main causes of dental phobia and anxiety include:
A painful past dental procedure was found to be the leading cause of dental anxiety and phobia. Over 36% of Americans cited pain as the main reason why they didn’t see a dentist regularly. Those people always say dental implants can be painful and also other dental procedures. So this one is the big factor why patients have dental phobia.
The largest number of people who suffer from the two disorders have been found to be 24 years and older. People in this age group are afraid of embarrassing themselves during the procedure. Moreover, the mouth is a sensitive part of the body and some people find it uncomfortable during examinations and procedures.
Fear of needles and tools
The fear of needles and other dental equipment has also been found to cause dental anxiety and fear. There is a general fear of needles in many people during normal medical procedures, but the idea of getting an injection inside the mouth is even more terrifying.
Anesthetics side effects
Anesthesia involves the injection of morphine to relax muscles and inhibit pain, making the procedure painless and comfortable. The side effects include mild hallucinations, nausea, and dizziness. Many people dislike the side effects and hence skip dental procedures.
Signs and symptoms
The signs of dental phobia and anxiety are relatively similar. In dental phobia, the signs are extreme compared to anxiety. They include:
- Tension and trouble falling asleep, especially the night before the appointment.
- Nervous behavior in the waiting room.
- The uneasy feeling when eating or brushing before a dental procedure
- Panic and uneasiness after seeing dental instruments.
How to deal with Dental Anxiety and Phobia
Dental procedures are not as painful or uncomfortable as many of us believe. The disorders are inherent and it is a common thing to fear dental procedures. Talking to your dentist about your fears enables them to determine the best ways to undertake procedures. Notify them about the instruments and equipment that makes you uneasy. The dentist may have alternative instruments that may make you feel more comfortable during the procedure.
Keeping in touch with your dentist on a regular basis can help you deal with anxiety and phobia. Having a friendly relationship with your dentist enables you to look forward to dental visits and eliminates fear.
If you find dental procedures uneasy, always view dental videos and articles that can help you understand how the procedure is done. During the procedure, ask your dentist to explain the procedure in every step. This helps you relax and relieve mental stress.
The failure to have regular dental check-ups can lead to the development of serious oral infections and complications. Many people site fear as the main reason for not seeking dental health services. Good oral health translates into healthy bodies and lives, and it is hence important to visit the dentist at least three times a year. Facing your fears can help in mitigating dental anxiety and phobia, enabling you to live a more comfortable life.