Does your heart begin to race at the sound of a dental drill?
If so, you’re certainly not alone!
While most patients can agree that going to the dentist isn’t the most exciting task, there are a large number of patients that have another hurdle to overcome — dental fear or phobia.
In fact, it’s estimated that around 9% to 15% of Americans avoid seeing the dentist because of anxiety or fear. Avoiding the dentist isn’t an issue to be swept under the rug. Going to routine dental appointments is crucial for maintaining a healthy smile and spotting early signs of dental problems.
Why are some patients anxious or afraid of the dentist? The answer to that largely depends on personal experiences and attitudes. Although each patient has their own unique reasons for their dental fear or anxiety, most can be categorized in one of the following causes:
Poor Experiences in the Past: Obviously, bad experiences in the past will affect the way you view future dental appointments. We find that many older patients can be anxious about dental appointments because of experiences during their childhood. In the past, patients didn’t always have the option to enjoy pain-free dental treatment, which ends up affecting their attitudes as an adult.
Embarrassment: Embarrassment is a particularly troublesome topic because it perpetuates the cycle of poor oral health. If a patient feels embarrassed about the current state of their smile, they will avoid seeking help, which allows existing problems to worsen.
Feeling Helpless or Vulnerable: There’s no question that laying back in a dental chair can feel like a vulnerable situation. For some patients, this loss of control can be enough to cause dental fear or anxiety. Patients with PTSD or panic disorders are especially susceptible to developing this fear.
Poor dental health doesn’t just affect your appearance and self-esteem. Researchers have linked oral health to several systemic diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.
With this in mind, we strongly encourage patients to overcome their fear or anxiety to get the dental care they need. Some of the best ways to overcome your fear include:
Don’t let dental fear damage your smile! Dr. Paul Caputo understands that each patient has specific concerns that should be addressed and discussed. Using this personalized approach to dentistry, you’ll enjoy outstanding care that provides the healthiest smile possible!
To learn more about the dental services we offer, contact us today to schedule your next appointment at our Palm Harbor office.
Paul L. Caputo, DDS3490 E Lake Rd S Suite A