Dental Phobia is here to provide you with the latest information on how to overcome your fear of the dentist. Some people don’t look forward to dental appointments any more than they look forward to visits to a physician. Most dental procedures aren’t painful. However, just being examined can make people feel stressed.
Avoiding dental visits can become a vicious cycle. Most people can live with having some anxiety about going to the dentist. For those with dental phobia, however, the thought of a dental visit is terrifying. They may be so frightened, in fact, that they’ll do just about anything to avoid a dental appointment.
You feel embarrassed by the condition of your teeth and gums, so you don’t go to see a dentist. But the longer you wait, the worse your oral health becomes, and the more reluctant you are to make an appointment.
A distinction has been made between dental anxiety, dental fear, and dental phobia.
DENTAL ANXIETY is a reaction to an unknown danger. Anxiety is extremely common, and most people experience some degree of dental anxiety especially if they’re about to have something done which they’ve never experienced before.
DENTAL FEAR is a reaction to a known danger, which involves a fight-or-flight response when confronted with the threatening stimulus.
DENTAL PHOBIA is basically the same as fear, only much stronger. Someone with a dental phobia will avoid dental care at all costs until either a physical problem or the psychological burden of the phobia becomes overwhelming.
It’s common for patients who haven’t been to the dentist in years or decades to fear that the dentist has never seen a patient with such a long lapse in care, or one with teeth and gums in such a poor state. This concern is, however, misplaced. While you may feel alone in your aversion to professional oral care, it’s actually a common situation. You may not hear about it, since people do not typically stand around the water cooler broadcasting that they’ve avoided the dentist for 10 years or more. But the average dentist encounters such patients frequently. As for any dental problems you may have, rest assured that your dentist has seen them before. Dentists are focused on one thing: Getting your teeth and gums into the best shape possible. That means eliminating any pain you’re experiencing, maximizing function and achieving a good cosmetic result. Dentists choose their profession because they enjoy helping people, and no condition you might have will phase your dentist.
Is it possible, even today, that you’ll encounter a dentist who will make you feel bad? Unfortunately, there are still a few dental professionals who practice the old methods of communication. They may feel that chastising you is a way to help, or they may simply be insensitive. In the unlikely event that you ever encounter such a dentist, vote with your feet. Build a trusting relationship with a dentist who understands that browbeating you will not help you achieve optimal oral health.
People with dental phobia have a higher risk of gum disease and early tooth loss. Avoiding the dentist may have emotional costs as well. Discolored or damaged teeth can make people self-conscious and insecure. They may smile less or keep their mouths partly closed when they speak. Some people can become so embarrassed about how their teeth look that their personal and professional lives begin to suffer. There is often a serious loss of self-esteem.
People with dental phobia also may suffer from poorer health in general, and even lower life expectancy. This is because poor oral health has been found to be related to some life-threatening conditions, such as heart disease and lung infections.
Dental phobia, like other mental disorders, can be treated. Without treatment, dental phobia is likely to get worse over time. That’s partly because emotional stress can make dental visits more uncomfortable than they need to be.
Too many people let decay, problematic fillings, pain and other dental issues go on for too long because they dread going to the dentist. As a result, they may avoid smiling and may not be able to eat certain foods. Depression often takes hold. But it’s crucial to understand that dentists spend every working day fixing the same kinds of problems you have, and they are not shocked by them. Your dentist will be happy to help you correct old tooth and gum issues and prevent future ones. Don’t let fear of embarrassment stand in the way of achieving the good dental health you deserve.