It can be easy to feel sheepish about dental anxiety, especially when there are some people who minimize how you feel when it’s time to go to the dentist. It can sometimes be hard for people to relate, which can result in hurtful remarks.
You may feel a bit silly or even ashamed about your anxiety, but that’s not going to help you in getting over your fear of dental treatment. The good news is that you’re not alone.
Statistics on Dental Fear
It’s estimated that about 75 percent of adults in the United States have a mild to severe degree of dental fear, with 15 percent having dental anxiety that makes them more fearful of appointments to the point they may feel sick or lose sleep. In addition, estimates put the number of adults in the United States that have a dental phobia (which prevents them from seeking dental treatments) at about 5 to 10 percent.
Causes of Dental Anxiety
The causes of dental anxiety are typically from either a direct or indirect experience. A direct experience means that a person had a traumatic, painful, or difficult dental visit that has stuck with them over time. This could have been the painful removal of a tooth as a child or inadequate numbing as an adult. Direct experiences can be compounded by a dentist with poor chairside manner.
Indirect experiences that lead to dental anxiety include:
- Being told about someone else’s traumatic experience
- Having a general fear of doctors, blood, needles, and similar healthcare settings
- Fear of lack of control or helplessness
- Worry over being embarrassed over condition of their teeth
Treatment of Dental Anxiety
It's nice to know you're not alone in feeling anxious about visiting a dentist, but it's also nice to know there are ways around your anxiety. There are two different approaches that can be used alone or in combination to help treat your dental anxiety.
The first is behavioral. This includes positive reinforcement, relaxation techniques, yoga, and other things that can be done to help make a patient feel more at ease and comfortable during a visit.
The other option is pharmacological. This involves taking medication or using sedation to help the patient relax enough to undergo their dental treatment. Finding a dentist that specializes in sedation dentistry can help to reduce dental anxiety.
Schedule Your Dental Consultation
Are you ready to face your fears and feel as though sedation dentistry may be the right choice. Why not find out with a sedation consultation?