About 36% of people in the U.S. have a fear of seeking dental treatments, and 12% of those have an extreme fear. And while 36% might not seem bad, 36% represents over 119 million people in our country alone. And when people fear going to the dentist, it can make seeking dental care challenging. However, with the right coping skills and a dentist who leverages the latest dental technology, going to the dentist can be more manageable than ever before.
Why do I fear the dentist so much?
If you are one of those 119 million people who fear going to the dentist and get anxious about the idea of sitting in the dental chair, you likely ask yourself, why do I fear going to the dentist so much? Here are some of the most common reasons people develop a dental phobia or dental anxiety in the first place.
1. Fear of Pain
A fear of pain, referred to in the medical and dental community as agliophobia, makes people afraid of experiencing physical pain or discomfort during a dental procedure. They may worry that they won’t be able to control their reactions to pain during the process. Patients with Agliophobia may also fear having a painful dental condition or injury diagnosed and treated.
2. Prior Bad Experiences in Dental Offices
Patients who have had negative experiences at the dentist previously may avoid going back because they fear repeating those experiences. They may also worry about encountering an unsympathetic or unprofessional dentist or dental staff, or feeling embarrassed or ashamed about their dental health or oral hygiene. At Staley Dental, we understand dental anxiety and will take steps to respect your feelings and create the most comfortable process possible.
3. Fear of Needles and Injections
Some patients fear the pain or discomfort associated with dental injections or numbing agents. In contrast, others may feel uneasy about the sight or sensation of a needle entering their skin or gums. They may also worry about the possibility of an allergic reaction or other adverse side effects from the injection, even if they have no documented allergies.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, treatment for trypanophobia (the extreme fear of needles) can include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to help the person learn coping skills, desensitization techniques, and medication to reduce anxiety during medical procedures. And if you have a fear of needles, the team at Staley Dental will work with you to make your injection easier to manage.
4. Fear of the Dentist as a Person
People who fear the dentist as a person may worry about the dentist’s perceived authority or power over their dental health or feel judged by the dentist for poor oral hygiene or dental habits. They may also feel vulnerable or exposed during a dental exam or procedure. We’ll never scold you for your oral health habits at Staley Dental. Instead, we’ll provide well-meaning guidance on improving oral care at home and discuss all the benefits you can expect to experience.
5. Dislike or Anxiety Associated With Noises, Sensations, and the Process of Dental Procedures
Depending on the specific symptoms, the fear of loud noise is called phonophobia, sonophobia, or ligyrophobia—and this fear can rear its ugly head during dental treatments. As a result, these patients may dislike or feel anxious about the sounds associated with dental equipment and procedures, such as drills or suction devices. They may also feel uncomfortable or anxious about the pressure or discomfort they experience in their mouth during a dental procedure or worry about experiencing post-procedure pain, such as sensitivity or soreness.
Staley Dental can help with solutions for dental anxiety.
The team at Staley Dental understands that many patients experience dental anxiety, so we offer a range of solutions to help patients feel more at ease during their visits. First, we’ll take the time to listen to your concerns and work with you to develop a treatment plan that is comfortable and effective. Here are some ways we do that.
- We utilize advanced technology, such as soft tissue lasers, which can make many procedures less painful and more precise. This technology allows for faster healing and reduces the need for anesthesia, making the overall experience more comfortable for the patient.
- Our supportive and calming environment ensures you receive the care you need without undue stress or discomfort. We emphasize open communication between our patients and team. We encourage you to share your concerns and preferences with us, so we can work with you on developing a personalized plan that meets your needs.
- During your appointment, we can help you with relaxation and grounding techniques, such as deep breathing or meditation. And we provide soothing music, pillows, and blankets to help you feel more comfortable.
Experience the Staley Dental approach to comfort in the dental chair.
Whether you have a toothache you hope will get better on its own or are overdue for professional dental cleaning, Staley Dental can help you get through that next appointment. Don’t let your fear of the dentist get in the way of ensuring you achieve the best oral health possible. Whether you need assistance with some relaxation techniques or would like to explore other coping skills, we’ve got you covered. Request an appointment today.