Almost seventy-five percent of Americans are afraid of the dentist. This is to some extent. Of these, eight percent have a very strong fear, classified as dental phobia. This fear is so overwhelming that they never go to the dentist. This, in turn, impacts their health a great deal. This article sheds light on the main causes of dental anxiety.
The Idea of Dental Phobia
Dental phobia is also called dental fear or dentist fear. You may have heard of dentist phobia or dental anxiety. All these terms mean the same thing. Most people developed it due to traumatizing experiences. These can include painful procedures or complications. A bad interaction with a dentist can cause anxiety. A careless dentist could have made your fear stronger.
Bad personal experiences aren’t the only cause. Indirect experiences can play a role. This would be where someone told you about a bad experience they had. You might have watched a horror movie as a child about a dentist, and it stayed with you. What we hear and see in the mass media impacts us a great deal. The media can portray dentistry in a negative light. This affects your degree of dental anxiety.
Major Causes of Dental Anxiety: Trauma and Fear of Doctors
Dental anxiety can also occur if you’ve had a bad experience with doctors. This involves all kinds of fears. For example, a hospital “smell” can trigger anxiety. Seeing any kind of doctor can trigger it. Some people are afraid of those they perceive to be of higher status than they are.
Curing Dental Anxiety
There are a few ways to treat dental anxiety. These range from medication to cognitive behavioral therapy. There are special dental fear clinics. Dentists and psychologists cooperate. They provide patients with skills and tools to help reduce their anxiety.
Some dentists practice “gentle dentistry”. They explain procedures calmly, minimizing fears. They praise you after a successful procedure. This serves as positive reinforcement and reduces fear. It boosts your confidence.
Some people use relaxation techniques to reduce fear. Muscle relaxation and deep breathing exercises can help. So can guided imagery. Use of medication can range from general anesthesia to mild sedatives. Dentists will use “laughing gas” to calm a nervous person down. A psychiatrist can prescribe Valium or Xanax before a procedure. You can get dental care despite your fear if you try one of these methods. It also allows you to be alert and responsive and talk to the dentist.
How to Help Yourself
You can help yourself get over your fear. Do research on dentists before you make an appointment. Assure yourself they will help reduce your anxiety. You need to trust the dentist. Then, it will be easier to keep an appointment. You can ask to meet them before your scheduled procedure.
It will help to bring a comforting object to the dentist’s office. Stress balls are great. Bring your favorite book. Listen to soothing music on your phone while you wait. A well-developed support system helps reduce fear. You can bring a family member or friend to the appointment.
Try positive thinking, meditation, or another relaxation technique. Above all, believe in a good outcome. Don’t forget to look for a kind and caring team you can trust. Our office takes pride in providing you with a comfortable office experience. Our qualified staff is friendly and nice. Whatever the causes of dental anxiety, we will help you cope. We always take our patients’ concerns seriously.