Sometimes an experience at the dentist as a child can lead to a fear of the dentist as an adult. In other cases, other basic fears can be projected onto the experience of a dental visit. This “dentalphobia,” or fear of the dentist, can have a profound affect on a person’s health.
The greatest impact of dentalphobia is its affect on preventive care. Preventive care includes professional cleanings, screenings, x-rays and hygiene checkups. These treatments are non-invasive, routine and diagnostic. They are not painful. Yet, people with dentalphobia skip such appointments because of their fear. And, when someone lets their preventive care lapse, any break or infection in the teeth and gums can cause a more serious problem such as abscesses, gum disease or painful cavities and infections. This is where fillings, root canals and more invasive procedures are necessary just to restore normal health.
So, the result of dentalphobia often is a procedure the fearful patient was hoping to avoid in the first place. This is why my practice offers sedation dentistry. We all need regular dental visits for preventive care. We all want to avoid the need for invasive procedures. So, we want our patients to know that it is ok to come in nervous. We can help with mild sedatives or, if necessary IV sedation if it helps a patient get the dental care he or she needs.
Do you have dentalphobia? If so, why not ask us about options for sedation dentistry? Maintaining your preventive care is best thing you can do to avoid what you fear if you have dentalphobia.