Dental Phobia and Dental Anxiety
While most people do not anticipate dental appointments anymore than they anticipate visits to a doctor, to those with a dental phobia and anxiety the idea of a dental visit is terrifying. They might be so frightened, actually, they will do just about anything to prevent a dental appointment. Routine care is frequently put off by individuals with dental phobia for many years, even decades. In the extreme, a dentist may never be seen by a man with dental phobia.
To prevent dental visits, they will put up with pain, gum disease or broken and unsightly teeth. Phobia and dental anxiety are not incredibly unusual. It is often estimated that 9% to 15% of people in America avoid seeing the dentist due to panic and worry. That is about 30 million to 40 million individuals. In a study by the British Dental Health Foundation, 36% of people who did not see a dentist often said that panic was the primary reason.
While we frequently use the words anxiety and phobia interchangeably, they aren’t quite the same. When it is time for appointments those with dental anxiety may have a feeling of uneasiness. They will have unfounded or exaggerated worries or anxieties. They might not sleep the night before, but will still push themselves to go eventually. Those with anxiety may cancel an appointment or two before finally visiting. This also isn’t comparable to just the normal nervousness we all may get when visiting the dentist for the first time in awhile, or when getting a new procedure done.
Dental phobia is an illness that is more severe. It is an extreme anxiety, panic or fear. Individuals with dental phobia are not only concerned, they are terrified. They have an increased risk of early tooth loss and gum disease. Avoiding the dentist can have an emotional cost as well. Damaged or discolored teeth could make individuals self conscious and vulnerable. They keep their mouths partially closed when they talk or may grin less.
Many people can be so ashamed about how their tooth look that their private and professional lives start to suffer. Individuals with dental phobia might suffer from poorer health. The reason being poor dental health was found to be related to some life threatening illnesses, like lung disease and heart disease.
It is common for individuals to feel ill, or, sometimes, to really get ill while they are in the waiting room. Luckily like other phobias and anxiety, dental fears are also treatable. If you have any questions about dental phobia or dental anxiety and about the solutions we offer, call us today.