Dental Guides

Why People Fear the Dentist

Not many people get excited about the prospect of visiting a doctor’s office. Whether it is for preventative care or treatment for an illness or ailment, individuals often hesitate to make the appointment necessary to maintain a healthy life. Even more common is a fear of the dentist among adults around the world. Some researchers have sought to find the answer to why dentist office visits are among the most dreaded in the medical profession.

A firm of dental negligence experts in the UK recently conducted a study to glean more insight as to why the thought of the doctor causes trepidation. Among the individuals surveyed, 34% responded that they have a real fear of making a dentist appointment, and the reasons behind the anxiety run the gamut. Other studies have shown similar results, with one in five Norwegian adults having some level of fear about dental care, and millions of Americans avoiding the dentist out of deep-seeded dread. However, routine dental visits are a large part of the overall well-being of adults spanning all countries, making it necessary to understand and subsequently work through the fears that hold us back from making a dentist appointment.

Fear of the Unknown

A common fear among adults resisting a visit to their dentist’s office revolves around not knowing what’s to come. A small pain here or there, tooth or gum sensitivity, or the occasional bout of bad breath can be a symptom of a severe oral issue, but the anxiety that comes with uncovering potentially negative news keeps many out of the dreaded dental chair. Some patients have heard horror stories of a routine dental exam that led to a diagnosis only remedies by a major dental surgery or otherwise invasive procedure.

While serious issues can and do take place, having routine dental checkups helps stave off serious issues before they become problems that require drastic intervention. The majority of dentists take the time to talk through oral conditions with their patients, ensuring they understand the problem, how it happened, and options for how it can be fixed moving forward.

Potential for a Mistake

As with any field of medicine, mistakes can and do take place every now and again when visiting the dentist. Individuals would experience more pain than necessary is proper anesthesia is not provided prior to a deep cleaning or corrective procedure. In some cases, dental instruments may strike a literal nerve that causes ruminating pain throughout the jaw, head, and neck. Others have experienced wrong tooth extractions due to miscommunication between staff and dental surgeons, which leads to far more complications than is otherwise expected.

While these mistakes take place on occasion, they are far from the norm. Having anxiety about a mistake being made can be reduced by fully vetting the dentist before making an appointment, and explaining the concerns relating to dental mistakes before any work is performed. Dentists are highly trained medical professionals, and they are committed to taking the best care of patients who visit them. Having faith in that dedication to quality helps decrease fear surrounding dental appointments.

Childhood Horrors

Most adults who carry a fear of the dentist cite some degree of childhood trauma while sitting in a dental chair. Years ago, dental instruments used to clean, extract, and perform other relatively straightforward treatment on patients were clunky and a bit cumbersome to use with any degree of gentleness. That created millions of bad encounters with the dentist among child who then kept that memory ingrained in their minds well into adulthood. Fortunately, the modern world of dentistry has a different look and feel when it comes to the tools used to perform dental procedures. Dentists understand that many have a fear stemming from a childhood horror, and most take care to conduct routine cleanings and procedures with a light touch.

No one wants to spend their precious time in a dentist’s office, and the fear that comes with each visit is more often than not subdued by simply avoiding the process altogether. However, individuals can reduce the fear of the unknown by sticking to regularly scheduled dental appointments, and ensuring their dental hygiene is up to par. Taking these simple steps helps you avoid bad news at the dentist’s office, which ultimately decreases the anxiety that comes before an appointment.

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