Dental Anxiety and Fear

Going to the dentist causes many people anxiety. Patients who have had painful experiences in the past at a dentist’s office may fear that they will have painful experiences again. People who value their personal space and are uncomfortable when another person intrudes upon that personal space may find it unsettling to have a stranger examine their teeth and gums. People who like to be in control in their day to day lives may be upset by the lack of control they have while they’re sitting in the chair at a dentist’s office. They may not like assuming a very passive role while a dentist scrapes, cleans, and scrutinizes the inside of their mouths. The causes for anxiety and fear of dentist visits are as varied as the people who require those same visits. And having some anxiety or fear about a trip to the dentist is normal. People who skip off to root canals with a pep in their step and a song in their hearts would probably be considered less normal than those who do harbor the occasional bout of anxiety when it comes to dental check-ups and procedures. In fact, it has been estimated that at least thirty million people have reported feeling anxiety and fear about visiting their dentists. Some people will even put off visiting their dentists for years due to feelings of extreme fear. At this point, normal fear and anxiety may have taken the back seat and allowed their more intense friend, the phobia, to drive. Phobias are unreasonable, illogical fears of which a person has no or very little control. Phobias are what cause some people to suffer the pain of periodontal diseases and the embarrassment of badly stained teeth for years on end. People suffering from phobias should seek professional help.