Some patients experience intense fear in a dental setting or when undergoing dental procedures. The phobia can still be debilitating, even though you may be aware of it. Dental anxiety can prevent people from visiting the dentist, leading to far-reaching oral health implications. Dr. Kiran Rapal, D.D.S. Inc., has vast Saratoga dental anxiety experience providing suitable treatment options.

How does dental phobia influence oral health?

It is advisable to visit your dentist regularly for routine checkups. If you have healthy gums and teeth, an annual consultation is sufficient. But patients at risk of oral health problems should schedule a visit every six months.

Routine checkups are crucial because they pinpoint the earliest symptoms of gum disease or tooth decay. Your dentist employs sophisticated tools to detect the subtlest signs of oral health issues. The illness is less complicated to manage during these initial phases.

Dental anxiety is a concern in dentistry because it can encourage patients to procrastinate routine checkups. Postponing your consultation will worsen symptoms and complicate the treatment process.

Research also suggests anxiety intensifies the perception of pain and uncomfortable experiences. An individual with dental anxiety may also unconsciously amplify the memory of the pain.

Because of the inability to cooperate, the process can be distressing for both the patient and the dentist. There is a high risk of misdiagnosis unless the specialist has experience handling such patients.

What causes dental anxiety?

As with other mental conditions, a past event can trigger dental anxiety. The patient may have sustained injuries or developed complications after an in-office procedure. The pain may leave a lasting negative impression that evolves into irrational fear.

Dental anxiety is sometimes a recurring condition that develops from other mental disorders. For example, claustrophobia or fear of enclosed spaces may make the patient uneasy in a dental office. Pre-existing illnesses like depression or obsessive-compulsive disorder could also be a factor.

Dental phobia arises from different types of fears and anxieties. An unpleasant experience or a past incidence of abuse could trigger a lack of trust or the fear of losing control. A sense of helplessness often leads to panic attacks for some patients.

Dental anxiety signs and symptoms

Dental anxiety tends to exhibit typical symptoms of the physiological fight or flight response. You may have sweaty palms or a rapid heartbeat in a dental setting. Fidgeting nervously and fainting is also a common sign of the condition.

If you have dental anxiety, the prospect of visiting a dentist is crippling. Patients may panic, cry, or show signs of intense distress. However, some people may use humor or avoidance tactics to downplay their fear of visiting the dentist.

Treatment options for dental phobia

Research shows incidences of dental phobia have remained consistent over the year. However, many patients experience less pain and discomfort during dental visits.

Industry experts attribute pain reduction to advancements in dental anxiety treatments. Combining psychological strategies, medication, and patient-centered care can produce satisfactory results. Trained dentists provide science-backed tips for addressing phobias.

Contact Dr. Kiran Rapal, D.D.S. Inc., for all your dental consultation needs today.