What Causes Dental Anxiety?

Many people are uncomfortable with going to the dentist. If they weren’t, we would have much fewer dental issues! Going to the dentist can be stressful, especially if you are worried about pain. If you hesitate to go to the dentist, you are not alone. Having anxiety about the dentist is relatively common. In fact, over one-third (36%) of adults in the U.S. have a fear of the dentist, according to the Cleveland Clinic. 

Dental anxiety is the name for this issue. It is the fear or anxiety about visiting the dentist or undergoing dental procedures. With dental anxiety, the severity can range from mild to extreme dentophobia. 

Unfortunately, dental anxiety is associated with an increase in dental issues. If you are too anxious or afraid to visit the dentist, you are more likely to avoid the dentist if you have pain or other problems. Many people with a fear of the dentist never go to the dentist, or they wait until their dental problems have caused significant damage to their teeth or gums. 

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Potential Causes of Dental Anxiety

There are many reasons someone might develop dental anxiety.

Current Anxiety Disorder

If you have an anxiety or panic disorder, it is more likely that you will have a fear of going to the dentist. Also, if you have a family history of anxiety, then you may have an increased chance of fearing the dentist. It is possible that the trait is genetic. 

Bad Past Experiences

Not every trip to the dentist can go seamlessly. Sometimes, people may have a terrible dental visit that causes trauma. Unfortunately, this may have an impact on a patient for the rest of their lives. One patient may have developed a fear of the dentist in childhood, causing lingering anxiety as an adult. 

It is also possible that a patient may have had a dental procedure that produced complications. Many people would be wary of further dental processes if they had significant or painful complications. Also, some patients may have had a dentist that created a traumatic environment by performing procedures without consent or needed to be more professional. 

Combined with Other Fears

Some people may be afraid of the dentist because it includes other fears. For example, if someone is afraid of needles, they would be anxious about going to the dentist for fear that they may need an injection of a local anesthetic. Unfortunately, needles are necessary for many procedures. Other patients may be afraid of blood or being touched, or they may be sensitive to sounds. 

Treatment Options

If you suffer from dental fear or anxiety, it is important to talk to your dentist. They can offer you several treatment options to help you relax during your dental appointments. Your dentist wants to see you happy and healthy. Therefore, they want to help you be comfortable in their office. 

Talk to your dentist about the sedation services they offer. Sedation will allow you to relax while your dentist does their job.