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Dental Anxiety: What Does It Mean?

Are you one of those who squirms in the thought of the need to see the dentist? There is no reason to feel embarrassed about it. After all, you are not the only one who suffers from a dental phobia. It’s the term used to describe people who are afraid to see their dentist not because they don’t recognise how important it is to see their dentist regularly. Rather, these are the people who are afraid because they have associated dental visits to something painful.

The causes of dental phobia can range from one’s fear of needles to the stress and discomfort that they felt in an experience with a dentist. A person’s predisposition about the importance of dental visits and dental treatments also plays a huge role in how they deal with it when the need arises. But are dental fear, dental phobia and dental anxiety all mean the same thing? Are all these terms interchangeable?

Although these three terms have been used interchangeably to describe people that show symptoms and reactions of fear to the idea of dental treatments, there is a thin line of difference that separates them. Recognising the difference between them will allow the patient and the dentist to find suitable dental treatments to alleviate the dental problem.

Dental Anxiety refers to the sense of uneasiness associated with the dentist, dental clinics and dental procedures. If you are one of those suffering from dental anxiety, it may help to find a dentist you can talk to. When you feel comfortable with the dentist you have chosen, a good atmosphere is created; thus, you can overcome your anxiety and feel good about getting dental treatments done.

Dental Phobia, on the other hand, refers to the irrational and intense reaction to dentists and dental treatments because they are perceived as threatening. A violent response to the sound of the drill as well as the slight movement of the dental chair can make it tough to get any dental treatment done.  Dental phobia can also be used to describe an unexplainable fear of pain that is likened to dental procedures. An overcoming dental phobia may require more than feeling comfortable around the dentist. It may even require professional assistance. Usually, dentists recommend patients with a dental phobia to consider sedation dentistry.

Dental fear may be a milder form of dental phobia. It may be rooted in a previous dental experience that didn’t go well. Perhaps, like those who suffer from dental anxiety, it will help those with dental fear to get dental treatments from someone they feel most comfortable with. Dentists who take the time to answer your questions about the treatment before actually getting it may help remove dental fear.

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