For many people, dental anxiety is a common thing. Whether the anxiety stems from a bad experience, the fear of pain or embarrassment about the personal state of teeth and gums, this emotion can be detrimental to one’s overall oral health. Because of anxiety or fear, some patients may postpone making a dental appointment, even…
Understanding the Most Common Causes of Dental Anxiety
Dental anxiety is relatively common in patients of all ages. While most people think that only children fear the dentist, many adult patients actually do too. Dental anxiety involves feelings of nervousness or fear, which are completely normal and manageable. The first step is to understand dental anxiety and its triggers, which can be helpful when trying to tackle it.
Causes of dental anxiety
The main cause of dental anxiety is fear, which can split into different categories. Outlined below are the most common areas of fear that cause dental anxiety, all of which are important to review when trying to understand it and why it happens.
Most patients have dental anxiety because they are afraid that there will be pain during an appointment or procedure. However, that is unlikely. Most dental procedures have pain management tools, such as anesthetic or numbing agents to help eliminate any potential for pain or discomfort. For patients who get dental anxiety during a routine appointment, they should rest assured. Routine appointments involve a simple cleaning and examination, in which discomfort is rare.
Another cause of dental anxiety is embarrassment. Some patient's oral or dental health may be in bad shape, which can cause them to be embarrassed when going in for an appointment or procedure. However, it is important for patients to understand that dentists are used to seeing extremely unhealthy teeth and gums, and there will be no judgment from them, thus making feeling embarrassed unnecessary.
Dental anxiety is often caused by a fear of the unknown. Patients may notice something on a tooth or on the gums that they are not familiar with, which can cause feelings of anxiety. It is a good idea to visit the dentist immediately in order to have an evaluation to determine what the unknown is.
Some people experience dental anxiety before an appointment or procedure with the dentist. They may feel nervous that they will not be in control of what is happening in their mouths, which can create dental anxiety. Working with a dentist to understand each step of the appointment or procedure can be helpful in managing the nervous feelings. They can outline each step to help the patient feel more at ease.
One way that patients can take control is by practicing good oral hygiene. Good oral hygiene often eliminates the need for unnecessary procedures to treat things like tooth decay, which then eliminates the potential that dental anxiety will occur.
Some patients experience dental anxiety because they fear that there will not be a solution to the problem at hand. There are certain dental conditions that can require a lengthy treatment process, but that does not mean that there is not a solution. Working with a dentist to understand the solution can be helpful in reducing or eliminating dental anxiety.
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Need help with managing dental anxiety? Dentists and their assistants are trained to help patients of all ages so they feel comfortable and less anxious. Reach out today to get started or to learn more about the causes of dental anxiety, as well as how it can be managed.
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