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What Causes Dental Phobias?

May 19, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — allhappysmiles @ 2:11 am

Fearful woman with hands near her mouthDid you know routine dental care is equally important as brushing and flossing? The American Dental Association recommends a cleaning and checkup every 6 months to keep your teeth and gums healthy. However, visiting the dentist isn’t easy for everyone. 36% of adults in the U.S. have some fear of dental treatments. 12% of people with dental anxiety have extreme fears. Dental-related anxiety stops 3% of adults from seeing a dentist at all. If your palms sweat or your heart races at just the thought of visiting your dentist, here are the most common causes of dental-related fears and what you can do to overcome them.

Causes of Dental-Related Fears

Dental fear can be caused by many factors and can affect anyone, no matter their age. Women are more likely to suffer from dental anxiety, but it can affect men, too. Although every situation is unique, the most common causes of dental phobias include:

  • Needles: No one enjoys an injection in the gums to administer an anesthetic to numb the area, but some people can have a severe fear of needles that prevents them from visiting a dentist.
  • Blood: the sight, smell, and taste of blood can drive anxiety.
  • Choking: It’s not unusual for patients to have a fear of choking, especially if they have a strong gag reflex.
  • Pain: The fear of pain keeps many people away from their dentist, especially if they need dental work.
  • Smells: Dental offices have a unique smell, which can be offsetting for some people.
  • Noise: Unfamiliar noises can cause stress and anxiety.
  • Past Experience: Patients who have had a negative dental experience previously are more likely to fear dentists.
  • Embarrassment: Patients who have neglected their dental health can have extreme embarrassment about the current state of their smile and feel they will be judged.

Conquer Your Dental Phobia

No matter the fuel driving your fear, you can keep your oral health a priority while staying comfortable in the dentist’s chair. Dental sedation will help you sit back and relax to get the care you need. The most common options for mild-to-moderate cases of dental anxiety are:

  • Oral Conscious Sedation: Prescribed medication is taken before your appointment to calm your nerves. It will help you reach deep relaxation, which is perfect if you need any dental work.
  • Nitrous Oxide: Better known as “laughing gas,” nitrous oxide is an inhaled sedative used to treat dental anxiety. Whether you need a cleaning and checkup, filling, or another service, nitrous oxide will help your fear fade away.

Your comfort is always your dentist’s top priority. They will create the personalized plan you need to achieve your best smile.

About Dr. Mamata Ponnaganti

Dr. Ponnaganti earned her dental degree at the Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine and has regularly continued her education in various specialties, like dental sedation, implant placement/restoration, and orthodontics. She is a member of many professional organizations, including the American Dental Association. Request an appointment through our website or call (813) 773-1818.

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