5 Common Reasons People May Be Afraid to Visit the Dentist

Reasons for dental anxiety

Is concern over your next dentist visit keeping you from getting the care you need? Plenty of patients are afraid to go to the dentist or struggle with dental anxiety. However, avoiding care only leads to further oral health problems. Multiple issues could be stopping you from visiting the dentist, but there are ways to overcome them.

Dentophobia is more common than you think.

Few people enjoy visiting the dentist. However, for some patients, the issue runs far deeper than that. Dentophobia is a term used to describe a severe fear of the dentist, a fear that reaches the point of inhibiting your ability to receive dental care. More mild forms of dental anxiety are common among patients of all ages.

Moderate dental anxiety is present in as many as 19% of patients. Some patients experience severe dental anxiety, around 7%. In these cases, patients deal with more than simply being afraid to go to the dentist.

Dental anxiety can make scheduling and following through on appointments next to impossible. It can leave patients unable to remain calm and still during treatment, which creates a dangerous situation.

Reasons you may be afraid to go to the dentist.

Your individual relationship with dental care is unique, but there are many common trends among patients that explain dental anxiety. You may find that your experience falls into one or more of these categories. 

1. You haven’t seen the dentist in a while.

Ideally, you should see the dentist every six months for a routine evaluation and teeth cleaning. However, for individuals with dental anxiety, this isn’t an easy task. If dental anxiety has already caused you to miss appointments, you could feel even more intimidated to return.

Many patients are concerned an evaluation will reveal serious issues that require further treatment. However, avoiding evaluations doesn’t stop those problems from taking their toll. Missing routine appointments only lets those issues become worse over time.

2. You need restorative work.

For other patients, routine teeth cleaning and evaluations aren’t so bad. They might be a bit uncomfortable, but these patients can get through them. This can change, however, when they need more serious treatment, such as fillings, root canals, or crowns.

Having a longer stay in the dental chair, requiring local anesthetic, and concern over outcomes can all lead patients to become highly anxious over restorative work. However, these are vital treatments to ensure lasting oral health and the function of your smile.

3. You’ve had a negative prior experience.

A negative prior experience with a dentist, whether in childhood or as an adult, can serve as the catalyst for dental anxiety. Experiences when something went wrong can have a lasting impact. However, dental anxiety itself can lead patients to perceive a routine and successful procedure as a negative experience.

4. You experience sensory issues.

Taking sensory issues into account is another important aspect of planning your treatment. If you experience sensory issues, whether due to a diagnosed condition or not, the subtle discomfort of dental treatment can become unbearable.

These types of issues can affect both children and adults. While adults are more capable of simply grinning and bearing it, they can still have a deeply negative experience. Talking with your dentist about these issues ahead of time can help alleviate that discomfort.

5. You haven’t kept up with your oral hygiene.

Brushing and flossing are important components of maintaining your oral health. However, some people can fall behind and have their routines lapse. When this happens, patients can feel ashamed and concerned about how their dentist will react.

Visiting your dentist is even more important if your oral hygiene has lapsed. Your dentist isn’t there to judge you, but can instead help provide solutions to improve oral hygiene so you can achieve lasting oral health.

How you can confront dental anxiety.

Patients with dental anxiety can address their condition in a variety of ways. A big part of this process is finding the right dentist. You’ll want the best family dentist in Austin, Texas, one who provides the understanding and accommodation you need.

There are various techniques and exercises that can alleviate dental anxiety. However, some cases call for sedation dentistry to ensure comfort and relaxation. Options, such as nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation, and IV sedation provide choices that you and your dentist can discuss to find what’s right for you.

The care you need in a welcoming environment is available.

If you or your children are afraid to go to the dentist, the team at Parmer Lane Dentistry will do everything we can to help. We take the time to hear your concerns and develop a treatment plan that works for you. Our office is a welcoming environment where you can feel safe. Book your appointment today to get the care you need.

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