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Understanding Dental Phobia

Man sitting in dental chair talking to female dentist

Feeling worried about dental visits? You’re not the only one. Approximately 36% of Americans are afraid of dental treatments, with 12% experiencing an extreme fear. Postponing or avoiding regular dental care due to fear can lead to increased risks of gum disease and early tooth loss and negatively impact your overall health.

Keeping up with regular dental check-ups and cleanings helps avoid serious dental problems and expensive treatments. But if fear keeps you away from the dentist, what can you do?

What is a Dental Phobia?

When you have dental phobia, your fear goes beyond simple anxiety; it’s intense and overwhelming. You might feel a bit nervous and have trouble sleeping before a dentist visit, or you might be so scared that you refuse to go. You may experience an intense physiological response to the thought of visiting a dentist, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or stomach pain.

People with dental anxiety usually feel stressed before their appointment but start to relax once the procedure begins. However, if you have a dental phobia, you might need extra help to get through your visit.

Identifying the Root of Your Fear

Knowing what triggers your dental phobia can help you manage it more effectively. Common causes of dental phobia include:

  • Bad experiences at the dentist when you were younger
  • Worry over experiencing pain or needles
  • Dislike of feeling powerless or out of control
  • Aversion to the sounds or vibrations associated with dental tools
  • Embarrassment about the condition of your teeth
  • Discomfort with someone invading your personal space

Overcoming Your Dental Fear

The best way to deal with your dental anxiety or phobia is to talk openly with our dental team when you book your appointment. Letting your dentist know about your worries allows them to customize your visit to make you more comfortable. This could mean using different methods to calm your nerves, like deep breathing techniques, and clearly explaining every step of your dental treatment.

Depending on your level of anxiety, your dentist may suggest sedation to make your visit better. If you’re a little nervous, they might recommend laughing gas to help you relax. For those who are more anxious, there are stronger sedation options.

If your fear is so intense that it stops you from getting regular dental care or causes panic attacks, a therapist may be able to help you work through your fears using methods like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT can help you manage negative thought patterns and behaviors, so you feel less anxious about the dentist.

Understanding and communicating your dental fears allows us to ensure your dental visits are positive and less intimidating. With modern advancements in dental procedures and techniques for managing anxiety during visits, your fears don’t have to stop you from achieving and maintaining a healthy, attractive smile.

Schedule Your Appointment Today!

If you’re experiencing any dental anxiety or phobia, please let us know when you book your appointment. At Caputo Dental, our compassionate dental team listens, adapts treatments to make you comfortable, and offers options like sedation to ease your nerves. We ensure fear doesn’t stop you from getting the dental care you need.

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