It’s no surprise that regular visits to your dentist are absolutely essential for maintaining a healthy smile. At these routine appointments, you’ll have a thorough teeth cleaning and your dentist will be able to examine your smile for any early signs of tooth decay or gum disease.
While most of us recognize the importance of these appointments, anxiety or fear can be a major barrier for many patients. It’s estimated that 9% to 15% of Americans avoid going to their dentist due to fear or anxiety.
3 Common Causes of Dental Fear or Anxiety
So, what causes patients to develop dental fear or anxiety? The trigger of dental fear or anxiety varies from patient to patient, but in most instances, it can be attributed to these three common causes:
Bad Experiences in the Past: Poor experiences in the past can make patients fearful or anxious about going to the dentist. Bad experiences can be the result of a painful procedure or an uncaring dentist.
Embarrassment: Some patients develop dental fear or anxiety because of embarrassment. If patients feel ashamed or embarrassed at the current state of their oral health, they are likely to avoid going to the dentist altogether. Unfortunately, this only perpetuates deteriorating oral health.
Fear of Loss of Control: Lying back in a dental chair with a dentist examining your mouth can feel like a pretty vulnerable situation. For some patients, feeling helpless or loss of control is enough to trigger anxiety or fear. Those with PTSD or a history of abuse are more likely to avoid going to the dentist due to fear of loss of control.
Overcoming Fear of the Dentist
No matter what triggers your dental fear or anxiety, it’s important to find ways to overcome it as soon as possible. Avoiding the dentist for years or even several months can allow for minor dental issues to worsen into major problems. Some of the best ways to combat dental anxiety or fear include:
- Bring a family member or close friend to support you through your appointment
- Speak to your dentist beforehand and discuss your concerns
- Distract yourself by keeping your hands busy with a stress ball or fidget spinner
- Use breathing techniques to remain calm
- Use other relaxation techniques throughout your dental appointment
- Consider sedation dentist
- Contact a psychiatrist if you suffer from severe dental phobia
Choose a Caring Dentist to Avoid Fear or Anxiety
Choosing a dentist that you feel comfortable with is another effective way of overcoming your dental fear or anxiety. Here at Dr. Younes Dental Care, we are 100% committed to patient comfort and exceptional personalized care. Whether you’re a dental implant patient in need of a long-lasting restoration or a patient in need of a routine cleaning, you’ll experience top-of-the-line care in our office. To learn more, contact our office to schedule your consultation with Dr. Raed Younes.