What are some of the most well-known fears?
Ghosts. Haunted houses. Spiders. Speaking in public. Flying. Sitting in a dental chair.
Wait – one of those things doesn’t belong, right?
Actually, they all do. The fear of the dentist is right up there with some of the best-known phobias. Dental anxiety and general dental phobia are more widespread than you might think. More than 10% of Americans avoid the dentist altogether, simply because they dread the dental chair.
But we’re not alone in the United States. Another well-known study looked at would-be Dutch dental patients. Based on a rigorous scientific analysis, it was discovered that nearly a quarter of people in the Netherlands (24.3%, to be exact) exhibit regular and sustained dental phobia. In fact, the Dutch put off going to the dentist simply because their fear correlates closely with other common phobias, including fear of snakes, heights, and physical trauma.
Five Common Dental Phobias – Plus Practical Solutions
- Pain. Far and away the number one factor in dental phobia, pain provides a two-fold problem for patients afraid of visiting the dentist. On one hand, any past painful experience is seared in the memory – and unlikely to go away anytime soon. Plus, the anticipation of future discomfort acts as just one more reason to skip their next appointment. Simply discussing your past pain with your dentist can help eliminate some of these fears.
- Perceived loss of control. Lying back in the dental chair is the ultimate loss of control – at least for those who prefer to stay away from the dentist. To help overcome this fear (real or imagined), ask your dentist to adjust the chair or provide extra support for more comfort.
- Checkered dental history. It could be a particularly painful experience (see above). Or maybe a family member’s root canal went spectacularly wrong. Whatever the reasons, an eventual history (either individual or family) in the dental chair is enough to keep plenty of would-be patients at home. This reason is more common than you’d think, especially considering that personal experience isn’t the deciding factor with this phobia. All it takes is a so-called horror story from a dental office, and that’s more than enough to make some people avoid the dentist. Much like the pain factor, an open and honest discussion about your dental history is highly recommended.
- Sensory onslaught. Harsh noises. Weird-looking instruments (that thing is going in my mouth?). For many people, a visit to the dentist presents too many sights and sounds they’d rather skip. Whether it’s the unsettling whirl of a rotary dental tool or the scraping of plaque off a tooth’s surface, there’s certainly no shortage of unpleasant acoustics and intimidating instruments at the dentist’s office. And while these aren’t bad enough to keep most people away, it’s still a significant factor that contributes to the total number of Americans (and patients around the globe) suffering from dental phobia. Tweaks to lighting, soothing music, and other environmental controls can go a long way toward alleviating sensory-related dental phobias.
- Breathing issues. Some dental patients experience breathing problems, especially during extended dental procedures. This can produce feelings of claustrophobia and related anxiety. Everything from nitrous oxide to other breathing aids can put breathing issues (not quite literally) to bed.
Dr. Dental Helps Anxious Patients Overcome Dental Phobias
With our patient-centered strategy and friendly dental professionals, Dr. Dental can help anyone conquer their fear of the dental chair – including you! If you’ve avoided the dentist in the past, or know someone that could use some extra encouragement, feel free to stop by our offices. We have dozens of dental facilities in four different states: New Jersey, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.
A less serious dental phobia is the fear of unaffordable care. Thanks to our flexible payment options and daily deals, we’ll provide affordable, family-friendly dental care at a price that’ll make you smile.
Thanks for visiting Dr. Dental!