Everyone is scared of something, but not all fears are equal. One bad dental visit can be all it takes to develop dentophobia, a fear of the dentist.
Continue reading to learn more about this fear.
Information on Dentophobia
Phobias fall under the anxiety disorder umbrella because they’re consistent and often irrational. Although it’s normal to feel nervous about dentist appointments, individuals with dentophobia experience dread. Some people with this fear avoid specific procedures, such as root canal treatment. Others tremble the moment they sit on the dentist’s chair. Some patients can’t stand the sight of dental instruments, such as drills and scalers.
According to WebMD, 9-20 percent of Americans have dental anxiety. So, what causes it? Keep reading to find out.
Causes of Dental Anxiety
Algophobia: This is the fear of pain, and it’s most common in people over age 65. Pain thresholds vary, and some people can undergo invasive procedures without pain, whereas others may have an adverse reaction to a checkup.
Trypanophobia: This is the fear of needles, and it’s most common in children. Most adults outgrow this fear as their pain threshold increases. Sadly, some people never outgrow it, and it can impact their oral and general health because they don’t want to receive vital injections; this can result in a higher risk of illness.
Latrophobia: This is the fear of doctors. People with this fear not only avoid their dentists, but they also refuse to see their general practitioner. They may delay or avoid crucial treatment for life-threatening conditions.
Emetophobia: This is the fear of vomiting. Many people with dentophobia have this underlying fear because dentists ask them to hold their mouth open for treatment. A person with emetophobia may have a strong gag reflex, so they may worry that their throat muscles will contract during their appointment.
Trauma: The most common cause of dentophobia (and other phobias) is trauma. Perhaps you went through a bad dental visit when you were a child, and you didn’t know how to cope.
Effects of Dentophobia
Tooth decay: Plaque is a combination of food particles and bacteria. When you go to the dentist, they will perform a dental cleaning to remove this film. However, people with dentophobia may skip out on these cleanings, and they will need invasive procedures, such as root canal treatment or dental crowns, as a result.
Gum disease: Untreated tooth decay can result in gum disease. Plaque can spread to the gums, causing swelling and bleeding; this can lead to periodontal disease.
Teeth stains: Drinking coffee, tea, or wine can stain teeth. Individuals with dentophobia may have tooth discoloration from a lack of professional cleaning.
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