Although dental anxiety is very common among people, dental phobia takes dental anxiety to the extreme. People who experience dental phobia tend to avoid visiting the dentist at all costs. However, this could end up costing them their smile. Does this sound like you?
There is help for people with dental phobia, and overcoming your dental phobia is an important step in taking the best care possible of your smile. Taking a closer look at dental phobia could help you understand this condition, its consequences, and what you can do about it.
Symptoms of Dental Phobia
A phobia can be defined as a deep fear that’s often irrational, but not to its sufferers. People who experience dental phobia are absolutely terrified of visiting the dentist. The symptoms of dental phobia include panic at the thought of visiting a dentist, loss of sleep, or extreme anxiety the night before and the hours before your scheduled appointment. Even trouble trouble or becoming physically ill are all symptoms of dental phobia. People experience dental phobia for a variety of reasons. Many people have a fear of pain, a feeling that they’ve lost control over what’s happening to them, even negative previous experiences with a dentist.
Consequences of Avoiding the Dentist
People who experience dental phobia have an increased risk for tooth decay, gum disease, and premature tooth loss. A dentist is a trained professional that can spot signs of oral health problems before they happen—these include oral cancer and periodontal disease.
Poor oral hygiene is connected to other serious health problems such as heart disease and even a reduced life expectancy. If you’re terrified of going to the dentist, you may even forgo the dentist if you have an infection, a knocked-out tooth, or discolored teeth. All of these can make you feel self-conscious and embarrassed, therefore leading you to not smile and further your anxiety.
Help for Those with Dental Phobia
You don’t have to merely accept your dental phobia and live with it forever. There is help and hope for those who suffer from dental phobia. What can you do if you experience an extreme fear of the dentist, leading you to avoid dental care?
Talk to your dentist. Find a compassionate dentist who has experience dealing with dental phobia and dental anxiety. Tell him or her that you’re experiencing fear and dread over the appointment. A good dentist will listen, allow you to be in control, and even talk with you about options such as sedation dentistry to help.
Consult a mental health professional. A counselor or therapist can help you uncover the reasons behind your extreme fear about the dentist and work with you to overcome it. They may also be able to help you find a dentist that best fits your needs.
Know that you’re not alone. Millions of people experience dental phobia and dental anxiety. As such, there are many wonderful dentists out there who would be more than willing to work with you. You can also find support, forums, and more at http://www.dentalfearcentral.org/resources/dental-phobia-links/
Living with dental phobia could cost you your smile. The earlier you seek help and treatment for your fears, the sooner you can see a dentist and ensure your dental health. Having a healthy smile is linked to having a healthy body—getting over your dental phobia is the key to having a healthy, beautiful smile for life.