Why are You Afraid of the Dentist?

As your next routine dental checkup approaches, do you feel calm and unconcerned or does your chest clench every time you glance at the calendar? If visiting the dentist makes you deeply uncomfortable, you’re not alone. Experts estimate that 35-40 million Americans suffer from dental fear or anxiety. As you’ll learn in today’s blog, the impetus for developing a fear of the dentist can range from past experiences to control issues.

Unpleasant Past Experience at the Dentist

Perhaps your childhood dentist didn’t have a great chairside manner. Maybe you underwent a particularly unpleasant procedure as a teenager, and the experience stuck with you. Whatever the specific nature of the event, its memory lingers and has a profound effect on your ability and willingness to seek professional dental care.

Family Members are Afraid of the Dentist

A study conducted in Spain in 2012 demonstrated a clear link between a parent’s fear of the dentist and the likelihood of their child developing dental fear or anxiety. For better and worse, parents exercise a huge influence over whether their child will develop an aversion to the dentist.

Fear of a Loss of Control

It makes biological sense that reclining in a dental chair with your head craned back can trigger feelings of unease and panic. After all, this posture places vital parts of your body – your throat, your mouth, your central mass – in a vulnerable position. Some people simply can’t abide this lack of physical control.

Solutions for People Who Are Afraid of the Dentist

One of the best ways a person can control their aversion to dental care is to discuss this fear with a member of the dentist’s staff before setting foot in the office. Talking openly about dental fear will help you feel more in control. In addition, your dentist may be able to offer a sedation option like nitrous oxide to help you feel relaxed through your appointment. Many dentists are certified to administer oral sedation or can call upon the services of an anesthesiologist to provide IV sedation for patients with debilitating dental phobia.

About Brad Greenfield, DDS

Dr. Brad Greenfield practices family, restorative, cosmetic, and sedation dentistry with a holistic approach to patient care and comfort. To schedule an appointment at our Lake Orion, MI dentist office, call (248) 693-6213. We proudly serve patients in Clarkston, Auburn Hills, Oxford, Rochester Hills, and neighboring communities.