Dentists & Dread: The Causes of Dental Phobias

If you’re afraid of going to the dentist, you’re far from being alone. Understanding where the fear comes from may help you overcome it. Otherwise, your dentist may offer a solution to make your time in the chair better.

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True enough, dental phobias are a fairly common issue. Studies suggest that nearly a third of Americans have a fear of dentists. Still, do you ever wonder what causes this dread? Knowing its source would help you overcome the problem. From there, you could get the crucial dental care you need! Luckily, your local dental practice is here with some answers. Read on to learn about dental phobias, their causes, and how best to treat them.

What are Dental Phobias?
If you didn’t know, phobias are a kind of anxiety disorder. They lead to excessive fear of situations that aren’t harmful. Left unchecked, they’ll lower your quality of life.

Given these facts, dental phobias are those related to dentists. Patients with them will often fear the mere thought of dental care. As such, the afflicted often struggle with regular dentist visits. Their oral health can then suffer as a result.

Aside from fear and anxiety, dental phobias have several common signs. These include the following:

Excessive sweating (i.e., hyperhidrosis)
Dizziness or lightheadedness, as well as nausea
Chills, shivering, trembling, or shaking
A racing heartbeat or heart palpitations
Shortness of breath (i.e., dyspnea)
Upset stomach or indigestion
What Causes Them?
As it turns out, a great many things can cause dental phobias. The most common and probable ones are:

Shame or Embarrassment – At times, a patient may feel strange about a dentist being close to their face. This closeness can prompt fears about how your teeth look or your breath smells.
Feelings of Helplessness – For some people, lying in a chair and keeping your mouth open for a while can make you feel powerless. This sense of helplessness may inspire great fear.
Your Family History – Your risk of having a phobia rises if you have a family member with a phobic disorder. Perhaps your heightened anxiety stems from a gene mutation.
Past Experiences – Those who’ve had traumatic experiences with dentists may develop dentophobia. Such incidents may include having a dental procedure done without consent, oral pain, etc. Hearing someone talk about their fear of dentists can also spark a phobia in you.
Is Treatment Possible?
Truthfully, there are ways to treat dental phobias. They can be gathered under roughly two headings: Mental wellness practices and sedation dentistry.

Over time, good mental health practices can reduce your dental anxiety. For instance, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) would change how you see and respond to dentists. Similarly, deep breathing and muscle relaxation can lower your stress levels. Either way, these and related methods would let you look at dental care with a calmer mind.

Of course, there’s also the highly effective option of sedation dentistry. This field uses sedatives to calm you down for dental care. By keeping you relaxed, it allows the dentist to proceed with treatment smoothly. You’ll then get a healthier mouth without the hassle of an anxious mind.