Dental Anxiety

5 Reasons Why Dental Anxiety Happens (and What Can Be Done About It)

Dental anxiety involves a fear of the unknown, as well as a reaction to the unfamiliar harms that are involved with dental treatments. Anxiety at the dentist is extremely common, and the majority of folks experience some level of dental anxiety particularly if they are about to have something done that they never have experienced before.

1. Phobia about certain treatments that cause dental pain

Fear regarding certain treatments that causes dental discomfort is a known reason for which individuals typically avoid going to the dentist. This phobia usually derives from a prior dental experience which was a bit painful or wasn’t very pleasant. Fear also can be instilled in individuals from dental pain, as well as horror stories that are told to them by other people. A couple of decades ago, some dental treatments were somewhat uncomfortable however, because of the recent progress in the dentistry field made over time, the majority of today’s dental procedures are considerably not so painful and perhaps even painless.

2. Dental fear

A fear of going to the dentist is again an extremely common dental anxiety. Usually, it comes from a negative, unpleasant past experience, for instance if the dental professional scolded you about the state of your oral hygiene and health or maybe you experienced a somewhat uncomfortable treatment. Dental fear also could be instilled in someone by other peoples’ painful and horrid stories about visiting the dentist.

3. Dental products and instruments

Most folks would agree that the dental instruments that are displayed on the tray as you are getting checked by the dental professional are highly intimidating. Usually, these instruments are thin with various hook sizes attached which go inside your mouth, which therefore, instills a fear of the unknown. Moreover, some instruments also make noises that increase anxiety.

4. Fear of needles

Most folks are scared of needles, especially when they’re placed inside their mouth. It actually is the fear of an injection in addition to the fear of major pain. But, dentists generally apply a topical gel to the space in which the injection is meant to be placed, numbing it a bit so patients do not feel the needle’s piercing pain.

5. Fear of anesthetic’s side effects

Many patients dread the possible side effects of anesthetics like dizziness or nausea. Other people aren’t fond of a lack of sensation or fat lip sense that is related to anesthetics. Beyond that fear, other people fear that the anesthetics administered weren’t sufficient to eliminate the discomfort before the treatment starts.

Anxiety at the Dentist

Dental Anxiety Treatments

Dental anxiety may be a dangerous and real problem. About 15 percent of the population in the United States experience anxiety, and the concept of going to a dental office sends them into a state of fear, panic, and desperation. Anxiety’s symptoms widely range between patients and may encompass vomiting, nausea, sweats, stomach cramps, hyperventilation, shaking, confusion and dizziness. Thankfully, if you are one of the many individuals experiencing anxiety, you do not need to be afraid anymore. There now are numerous ways to go about soothing your anxiety.

Sedation Dentistry

Most dentists know people experience anxiety and are happy to work with their patients to relieve their concerns; therefore, they may enjoy excellent oral health. Sedation is increasingly becoming a common choice for even the most standard appointment and will work by relaxing a person enough, so the necessary exams and/or procedure may be done.

There are numerous sedation levels available. We’ll make a suggestion as to what sedation level is appropriate for you, which is dependant on your anxiety level and the kind of work that’s to be done. The deepest sedation level is general anesthetic, yet usually this only is offered as a very nervous patient needs an invasive, extensive procedure like implants.

If you’re interested in discovering more on sedation dentistry, call the office and check if it’s something which can be provided.


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy assists you in gaining control over any negative emotions and thoughts which are related to the thing you fear – within this instance, going to the dentist’s office. During Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, you learn to identify the behaviors you usually show while confronted with the procedure you fear, like nausea or hyperventilation, and instead changing them to something positive.

If you think that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy might be a beneficial procedure for your anxiety, you either can search for a therapist, or do self-guided Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with the use of resources discovered inside libraries or on the internet.
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Some people have reported discovering that meditation and relaxation techniques have assisted them in handling their anxiety. Regularly practicing these methods may assist in regulating breathing, lowering your pulse rate, as well as relaxing your muscles. It also can be taught in conjunction with a therapy referred to as systemic desensitization, where you discuss your fears, and order them from the least to the most troubling then slowly exposing yourself to components of them to assist in overcoming them.

Why it’s so critical to treat dental anxiety

The primary concern for individuals who have dental phobia and anxiety is the lack of care they get as a result of delaying crucial dental check-ups and required procedures. They have much higher risk of gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss that may have an impact on their confidence and appearance, and not to mention their teeth’s functionality. In addition, poor health has been discovered to have connection with an array of severe medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, and stroke. This places sufferers of dental anxiety at risk of poor health, as well as a lower rate of life expectancy.

At the office of Timothy J. Butson, DMD, MSD, we’re able to perform dental work on people who are having trouble with anxiety. If you neglect going to the dentist because of fear of what a treatment might be like or just don’t like dental work, call us at (206) 624-7706.