Are you afraid of the dentist? If so, you’re not alone.
A University of Sydney faculty dentist studying dental anxiety found that fear of the dentist is reported in up to 40 percent of the western world.
Dental fear is a legitimate and complex condition; some people experience feelings of fear or stress that are so strong, they postpone dental appointments or necessary treatment.
Dr. Avanti Karve and the University of Sydney team determined that the demographic most likely to have dental fear or anxiety is women in their 40s. According to an article about their study, “women in this age group are most likely to have perceived a traumatic dental experience, abuse, trauma and oro-facial trauma.” Dr. Karve went on to state that women in this age group are also the most likely to suffer from depression, general anxiety and feelings of stress.
To clarify, experts classify dental anxiety and dental phobia differently. Dental anxiety includes unfounded worries or fear about going to the dentist. Dental phobia refers to the state of being terrified or panicked about dental care.
Dental phobia can have serious consequences that you may not have considered.
Dr. Karve said that people with severe dental anxiety wait, on average, 17 days to make an appointment when they are in severe pain. Most people (without dental anxiety) wait an average of three days.
If a person is too scared to go to the dentist and seek professional care, their chances of developing oral disease or losing a tooth increase. From a psychological sense, avoiding treatment of a damaged or discolored tooth can result in feelings of embarrassment, or even cause someone to isolate themselves from others because they are so self-conscious of their appearance.
Handling Dental Anxiety
The most experienced dental professionals are equipped to deal with dental anxiety and phobia. Board-certified Orlando oral and maxillofacial surgeon
Ronald Trevisani has several tips you can try to relieve anxiety surrounding dental visits.
First: talk to him. Share what makes you anxious about dental treatment, including your concerns and fears. In his many years of practice, Dr. Trevisani has worked with anxious dental patients and helped them to overcome their fears. Letting him know that you are fearful or anxious is very important and will be advantageous when he is planning your care.
Second: schedule your dental treatment at a time that is convenient and low-stress for you. Find a time at which you will naturally feel relaxed and not rushed; this could be first thing in the morning or at the end of the workday, depending on your personal schedule.
Third: distract yourself during treatment. Listen to soothing music on your iPod, or watch a television show on the screens in our treatment rooms. Play a mental game with yourself, and re-assure yourself that you are in the hands of a trusted professional.
If you’d like more tips on overcoming dental fear or anxiety, please contact the office of Dr. Trevisani.