Thursday Thought: Dealing with Dental Anxiety

Are You Afraid of the Dentist?

Believe it or not, many people are often nervous about going to the dentist. They worry about if it will hurt, the cost, will there be down time. However, there are many people with a true fear of the dentist who find it extremely difficult to even make an appointment, let alone keep it. Between 9%-20% of people avoid going to see their dentist because of anxiety and people with dental phobia will do anything possible to avoid going to the dentist.

While it’s easy to think that dental anxiety and dental phobia are the same, there are some differences. The patient with dental anxiety is uneasy and nervous, but they will still go see the dentist while worry before and during their visit. The patient with phobia will be absolutely terrified about a dental visit and most likely will not go see their dentist. There are many different reactions experienced by patients with both anxiety and phobias when thinking about their dentist. These might be:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Crying
  • Tense
  • Insomnia/Restlessness
  • Nauseousness
  • Headaches

People tend to fear pain during their visit. This is the most common fear in adults. A lot of this fear stems from experiences when they were children, before there was pain-free dentistry. People also fear embarrassment as to the condition of their teeth. Some patients prefer not to have anyone looking at their teeth. We also have a fear of needles. Now it’s important to note that fear of needles not only is a dental fear, but many people avoid other medical procedures because of their fear of the needle. These are just a few fears that people have.

If you are experiencing anxiety and fear over a dental visit, talk to your dentist and dental staff about it. There are some things we can do to assist you in alleviating your fears. Don’t avoid going to the dentist. We can help make things easier for you and look forward to helping you attain dental health, function and a beautiful smile.