Fearful of the Dentist? Exploring the Roots of Dental Anxiety

April 19, 2023
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Let's face it – the dentist's office can be an intimidating place. From the sterile smell of the disinfectant to the sound of the drill, many triggers can cause anxiety in patients. If you're among the many people who feel uneasy about visiting your dentist, you're not alone. According to recent studies, up to 80% of Americans experience some level of dental anxiety. Fortunately, there are affordable dentists in Issaquah and many ways to cope with this phobia. Explore the roots of dental anxiety and get some tips for overcoming it before your next appointment.

an anxious little girl with one of the most affordable dentists in Issaquah 

What is Dental Anxiety?

Dental anxiety is a common phobia that affects many people around the world. It's a feeling of fear or apprehension that arises when you think about going to the dentist or when you're at a dental office. The symptoms of dental anxiety can range from mild to severe and include the following:  

  • Sweating  
  • Rapid heartbeat  
  • Nausea  
  • Difficulty breathing  
  • Panic attacks  

What Causes Dental Anxiety?

Past Traumatic Experiences with Dental Procedures  

Negative experiences with dental procedures in the past can cause anxiety in future visits. This experience could be anything from a painful cavity filling to more serious dental surgery.

Fear of Pain or Discomfort

Many people are afraid of experiencing pain or discomfort during dental procedures. This situation is especially true for people with sensitive teeth or gums or prone to conditions like decay and gum disease.

Fear of Feeling Helpless or Loss of Control  

Lying back in the dentist's chair with your mouth open can make you feel vulnerable and helpless, and this feeling of being out of control can be a significant source of anxiety.

Fear of Dental Tools and Equipment  

The sound and sight of dental tools can be enough to trigger anxiety in some people. Dental drills, for example, can be intimidating to many patients because they make noise and get to more sensitive parts of your teeth.

Fear of Embarrassment or Shame  

Some people may be self-conscious about their teeth and feel embarrassed or ashamed to show them to a dentist, which stops them from scheduling an appointment.

Cultural and Familial Influences

Cultural or familial attitudes toward dental health can also influence dental anxiety. If you grew up in a house where dental care was not a priority, you might be more likely to experience anxiety when visiting the dentist.

Impact of Dental Anxiety on Oral Health  

Unfortunately, dental anxiety can have serious consequences for your oral health. Avoiding dental visits can lead to delayed treatment and deterioration of your oral health, and, in turn, you're at increased risk of complications and emergency dental visits. In some cases, untreated dental problems can also lead to serious health issues, including infections that can spread to other body parts.

Coping Strategies for Dental Anxiety  

Communicating with the Dental Team about Fears and Concerns  

Don't hesitate to communicate with your dentist and the dental team about your fears and concerns. They can work with you to create a treatment plan that considers your anxiety.

Sedation Dentistry Options  

If your anxiety is severe, your dentist may offer sedation dentistry to help you feel more relaxed and comfortable during procedures.

a woman visiting one of the most affordable dentists in Issaquah 

Looking for Affordable Dentists in Issaquah?  

Overcome dental anxiety and rediscover a confident smile! Visit our caring Issaquah dentists for a gentle, compassionate experience. Prioritize your oral health today - schedule a worry-free appointment now!

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The APEX Dental Care team can’t wait to see you!

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