Do you dislike going to the dentist? You’re not alone. Because of dental anxiety and phobia, most people try to postpone or avoid going to the dentist. Unfortunately, if fear keeps you from visiting the dentist regularly, you’re more likely to develop gum disease, lose teeth early, and have other health problems.
Keeping up with your annual preventative care, such as check-ups and cleanings, will help you avoid more serious dental problems and more expensive dental treatments down the road. But what can you do if you’re afraid of the dentist? The first step is to determine if you have dental anxiety or phobia. While these two terms are frequently used interchangeably, they are not the same.
Keep reading to learn the difference between Dental Anxiety and Dental Phobia and how sedation dentistry can help.
Dental Anxiety Vs. Dental Phobia
What is Dental Anxiety?
Dental anxiety is widespread and can strike anyone. Before or during a dental appointment, the term is commonly used to describe feelings of unease, fear, or stress.
Dental anxiety can be caused by several factors, including –
- Certain aspects of the dental environment, such as a fear of needles, may cause you stress.
- You may also feel uneasy about your lack of control during a dental appointment.
- If you haven’t visited the dentist in a long time, you may be concerned about your teeth and gums.
- You might be self-conscious about your dental hygiene or fear that your dentist will judge you.
People with dental anxiety may postpone or skip appointments. Despite their anxiety or stress, most people still visit their dentist.
What is Dental Phobia?
Dental phobia is more severe than dental anxiety and less common. People with this condition are completely overwhelmed and terrified of going to the dentist.
There are various levels of dental phobia. You could wait until you have a painful issue before making an appointment, or you could never go to the dentist at all.
Dental phobia can be caused by the same factors that cause dental anxiety. A negative dental experience can also lead to dental phobia.
People with dental phobia are often aware that their fear is irrational. However, they still struggle to confront and overcome their panicked feelings without assistance.
Symptoms of dental phobia include:
- As your appointment approaches, you’re getting a little nervous
- You’re having trouble sleeping or eating before your dental appointment.
- Feeling ill before a dental treatment
- Feeling short of breath before or during your visit
How Dental Anxiety And Dental Phobia Can Affect Your Oral Health
Avoiding the dentist can lead to the progression of dental disease, a greater need for emergency treatment, or more complex treatment. It can also exacerbate dental anxiety.
Regular dental check-ups, cleanings, and X-rays of the teeth can help the dentist detect any problems early on, allowing for less invasive treatments.
Most dental disease is preventable and is caused by poor lifestyle choices. You are missing out on learning how to better care for your oral health if you avoid going to the dentist.
Overcome Your Fear with Sedation Dentistry
The best way to overcome your dental phobia or anxiety is to discuss it with our dental care team when you make your appointment. When your dentist is aware of your fears, they can work with you to create an experience that is less stressful and more relaxing. This could include a combination of relaxation techniques, sedation dentistry, and a thorough understanding of the entire dental procedure.
Depending on your level of anxiety, your dentist may recommend sedation dentistry to help you enjoy your dental visit. If you have mild dental anxiety, your dentist may recommend nitrous oxide to help you relax. Other dental sedation options will be discussed if your anxiety is severe. If your fear of dentists is severe enough that it prevents you from going in for routine dental visits or causes panic attacks, your dentist can refer you to a licenced therapist who can help you overcome your fear. Dental phobia, like any other mental illness, is treatable.
Visit Healthy Smiles To Get The Best Treatment
At Healthy Smiles, we can provide you with a positive, friendlier dental experience if you are more aware of your dental fears and communicate them to us. Your fears don’t have to keep you from having a healthy, beautiful smile, thanks to advancements in dental care procedures and methods to help you cope during dental visits.
To learn more about your sedation dentistry options, schedule a consultation.
You can book your dental appointment with us online or get in touch with us at the below-mentioned contact details.
Healthy Smiles Dental Group
Address: 152 Canterbury Road, Blackburn South, VIC 3130
Phone Number: 03 9877 2035