Are you one of those patients who does not look forward to seeing their dentist? Do you feel anxious whenever the reminder of your regular dentist schedule pops up in your calendar? You are not alone in this struggle. Although most dental procedures are not painful, some people just find the thought of seeing a dentist and undergoing a procedure very stressful.
However, dental anxiety is something that people can live with. Those with dental phobia find visiting the dentist terrifying. They might become so afraid that they would do anything to avoid their dental appointments. Whether it is their busy schedule or their fear of dental appointments that keep them from seeing their dentist, the negative effects of it might do them more harm than good.
Phobia, by definition, is intense unreasonable fear. From the fear of a specific activity or object or situation, those with dental phobia find seeing their dentist a real struggle that’s difficult to overcome. They tend to put off their supposedly routine dental check-ups and procedures. Some are even willing to deal with a gum problem, pain or their teeth becoming unsightly just to keep them from seeing their dentist. This goes on until the pain is no longer tolerable.
Dental anxiety and dental phobia are apparently very common. In fact, studies show that about 15% of Canadians miss their dental appointments purposely. When translated to real numbers, this percentage could mean millions and that says a lot. For those who don’t have any problem going to the dentist, it can be quite easy to dismiss that dental phobia may be unreal.
While dental anxiety and dental phobia are often used as if the two terms are interchangeable, the truth is that they are not. Dental anxiety means that the person feels a bit anxious about seeing the dentist but goes to see the dentist anyway. Dental phobia, on the other hand, means that the person has unfounded and often exaggerated fear of dental appointments that they dismiss it altogether.
Dental phobia is a serious condition; thus, it should not be taken lightly. People who dream seeing their dentist may suffer from dental diseases that could cause them great discomfort. If you know someone suffering from a dental phobia, it is best to encourage them to seek help. Finding a dentist they feel comfortable with might just help them deal with the problem.