Some people avoid going to the dentist even for the benefit of their dental health. They put off routine dental care for years, tolerating deteriorating oral conditions, such as gum infection and broken or missing teeth until the time they need to undergo invasive treatments. Most of these people, estimated at about 9% to 15% of Americans, suffer from dental anxiety and phobia.
A local dentist in Scranton, PA will point out that the uneasiness or jitters experienced by people suffering from dental phobia is just the tip of the iceberg. Dental phobics experience intense dread even with minor examination. Below are the symptoms:
- the idea of a dental visit makes him sick
- difficulty of sleeping the night prior to a dental visit
- mounting tension being felt while in the waiting room
- anxiety is felt at the sight of dental instruments or white coats
- panic and breathing difficulty is experienced as the mouth is being examined
According to RDHMag.com, there are three main reasons why people fear going to the dentist:
- Embarrassment. Some people have very poor self-esteem and have this obsessive fear of being ridiculed or judged. These are amplified as dentists work within their personal space.
- Pain. Thanks to media portrayal and shared stories of traumatic experiences, dental procedures have become synonymous to pain. The clank of metallic instruments becomes the sound of a butcher’s knife being sharpened.
- Loss of control. The mouth is a vital body part one would instinctively protect just as one would with his chest (heart) when he knows he’s about to receive a blow. Sitting on a dental chair, with mouth wide open and the dentist hovering and poking his mouth with sharp instruments, would make the patient feel very vulnerable to impending harm.
Dental fear may also be attributed to stimulus generalization, which happens when a patient has come to associate white coats and the scent of antiseptics with unpleasant memories of previous hospital experience, and that’s why you’ll never see Dr. DeFinnis wearing a white lab coat. Furthermore, the feelings of vulnerability during a dental exam trigger stress on people with a history of abuse.
As with most types of phobia, the condition requires behavioral therapy. For patients in need of urgent treatment, sedation is best used in conjunction with it. IV sedation allows dentists to get the work done without the patient experiencing anxiety or pain, leaving him or her only a vague memory of the procedure.
As dental phobia manifests in physical symptoms, the condition requires special care. If you have a relative or a friend with this condition, take him to a sedation dentist from Dallas, PA like Back Mountain Dental to help him regain his oral health while effectively putting his fears to rest.