Do you feel anxious at the sound of a dental drill? You’re certainly not alone!
Fear of the dentist is a common problem among many patients. It’s estimated that 9% to 15% of Americans avoid seeing the dentist because of anxiety and fear. The degree in which patients fear the dentist can range from being slightly anxious to be terrified. Depending on the severity of the issue, it will be categorized as a fear or a phobia.
Whether a patient suffers from dental fear or phobia, the end result is the same — oral health will suffer. To enjoy a healthy smile, it’s critical to address your fear and visit the dentist for the routine dental care you need.
The first step to addressing your dental fear is to find the cause. Of course, each patient’s attitudes and past experiences will vary and contribute to fear in different ways. The most common causes of fear or phobia can be traced to the following reasons:
Poor Experiences In The Past: Prior negative experiences can deter patients from feeling comfortable going to dental appointments. Experiences with an unprofessional dentist or a painful treatment are a couple of negative scenarios that contribute to the development of dental fear.
Many patients with dental fear tend to be older because they had negative experiences as children. During their childhood, dental technology was not as advanced and was unable to provide the pain-free dental experience that is now available.
Embarrassment: For patients who have put off going to the dentist for a long time, the fear of ridicule or embarrassment can keep them out of the dentist office. For these particular patients, the embarrassment over the condition of their dental health perpetuates the cycle of poor oral health.
Feelings Of Helplessness: Being in a reclined chair with someone poking around your teeth can feel like a pretty vulnerable situation. This is a major reason patients with PTSD or victims of domestic abuse are susceptible to developing a fear of the dentist.
Fear Of Pain: The fear of pain is a major concern for many patients who wouldn’t otherwise feel nervous about the dentist. This can be particularly relevant for patients who have a low threshold for pain. A study published in the Journal of The American Dental Association noted that pain was the most important factor for patients who acquired dental fear during adulthood.
Treating this problem will largely depend on the individual patient and the severity of their dental fear. Some of the most common ways to address dental fear include the following:
Don’t wait any longer to tackle your dental fear and receive the dental care you need for a healthy smile. Avoiding the dentist can negatively impact your smile and overall wellness by increasing your risk for:
Are you ready to enjoy a healthy, restored smile? We offer a range of services including family dentistry, cosmetic dentistry and restorative dentistry to give you a smile you can feel proud of. To get started, contact our office today to schedule your no-obligation consultation with Dr. Rossius.
Dr. Andrey Rossius
3665 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd
Westlake Village, CA