Dental Anxiety

Dental Anxiety

One of the most common challenges dentists face in their practice is the anxious or nervous patient. I have lost count at the number of times that i have heard the statement  ‘I hate dentists’ or ‘I’m terrified of dentists’.  This is perfectly understandable as lets face it most people would rather be somewhere else rather than come to the dentist. So why do people get so worked up when they have a dental appointment? 

Some common causes of dental anxiety:

  1. One of the most common cause is the fear of dental pain. In most cases the patient has had a bad dental experience and they are scared that this will be repeated. In a survey by the British Dental Health Foundation, 36% of those who didn\'t see a dentist regularly said that fear was the main reason.

 

  1. Loss of control - Many people develop phobias about situations — such as flying in an airplane — in which they feel they have no control. When they\'re in the dental chair, they have to stay still. They may feel they can\'t see what\'s going on or predict what\'s going to hurt. It\'s common for people to feel helpless and out of control, which may trigger anxiety.

 

  1. Embarrassment - The mouth is an intimate part of the body. People may feel ashamed or embarrassed to have a stranger looking inside. This may be a particular problem if they\'re self-conscious about how their teeth look. Dental treatments also require physical closeness and this can make people anxious and uncomfortable.

 

Anxious patients often have a greater amount of dental neglect as they do not attend regularly. As a result they are more at risk of tooth loss trough decay and gum disease. As teeth decay they can often become discoloured and these patients often end up being very self conscious. This can  have a detrimental effect on their personal and professional lives and can seriously affect their self esteem.