If you fear going to the dentist, you are far from alone. Many people experience some level of apprehension about the dental chair, but it’s estimated that somewhere between 9% and 20% of Americans suffer from dental anxiety or dental phobia so severe, it keeps them away from the dentist altogether — until, of course, they are driven there by pain or some other necessity.
Severe dental anxiety or phobia can be self-perpetuating because, of course, the longer you go without seeing a dentist, the more likely you are to have severe dental problems — the kind that are more invasive to treat and will cause you to spend more uncomfortable hours at our office.
Unsurprisingly, people with a dental phobia are at increased risk of gum disease and tooth loss. They may have damaged or discolored teeth that make them self-conscious and diminish self-esteem.
Remember: the best way to spend the least amount of time at the dental office and avoid more invasive procedures is to stick with a schedule of regular preventive care.
At East Limestone Family Dental of Athens, AL, we treat many patients with dental anxiety and even dental phobias. We take your fears seriously and work with you to make you as comfortable as possible. If you’d like to schedule an appointment and learn how we can help ease your anxiety, call our office at 256-229-3416 or fill out our online contact form.
Symptoms of Dental Anxiety or Phobia
Dental anxiety or the more severe dental phobia may present in a number of ways, including:
- Difficulty sleeping the night before an appointment
- A sense of anxiety that increases as your appointment approaches, perhaps accompanied by sweaty palms, a racing heart, and other physical symptoms
- Feeling physically ill at the thought of the dentist
- A sense of panic or difficulty breathing when dental tools are placed in your mouth
Around here, we do everything we can to make you comfortable and put you at ease from the moment you walk through our door. Call 256-229-3416 to get started.
Causes of Dental Anxiety or Phobia
Understanding the issues underlying your fears can help you overcome them — and help us help you do so. Here are a few of the more common reasons people dread visiting the dentist:
- Past bad experience. One traumatic visit can set someone up for a lifetime of dental anxiety. These are often from years ago, before modern advances made dentistry relatively pain-free and non-invasive.
- Fear of loss of control. Sitting in a dental chair with someone’s hands in your mouth puts you in a position of vulnerability that may make you feel uncomfortably helpless. The physical closeness of the hygienist or dentist may also make you anxious.
- Fear of injections or needles. Some people fear the injection of novocaine more than the procedure itself.
We Will Work With You to Conquer Your Fears
The best thing you can do to minimize your time at the dentist (and invasive restorative procedures) is to be vigilant with your preventive cleanings and exams. Our team understands dental anxiety and we offer gentle and compassionate care to help you overcome your fears. To schedule an appointment, fill out our online form or call our Athens, AL office at 256-229-3416.