Going to the dentist is rarely a task that people get excited about. However, for others, it’s much more than a lack of enthusiasm that keeps them from booking their next check-up. Anxiety and even phobias prevent people from scheduling and keeping an appointment for even just a routine cleaning. We want to address this issue in order to help any of our patients who are experiencing anxiety or fear about seeing a dentist.
The Difference Between Anxiety and a Phobia
Sheehan Dental takes both dental anxiety and dental phobias seriously, but we want to point out that they are different and require different approaches. When you have anxiety about going to the dentist, it will “stress you out.” You will feel nervous and want to avoid going to the dentist. For particular patients, anxiety causes physical symptoms, from clammy hands to an upset stomach. Patient anxiety often makes them put off – or avoid altogether – going to the dentist.
While many people use “anxiety” and “phobias” interchangeably, having a phobia is generally a much more serious situation. When people have a phobia, they feel absolute terror – a terror that is generally unreasonable, unlike anxiety which usually causes stress and fear. A patient who is phobic fears they will have a panic attack or experience a panic attack just from the thought of going to the dentist. In many cases, even extreme mouth pain will keep a patient with a phobia of dentistry from seeking dental care.
When you experience anxiety or have a phobia regarding dental care, know that our caring dental technicians are always available for questions, concerns, advice, and assistance. Our dental team will discuss methods to manage your anxiety and, in the case of phobias, help you find other medical professionals who will assist you manage your phobia.
Dentophobia or odontophobia – the technical name for having an acute fear of dental clinics or dentists – affects 2.7 percent of men and 4.6 percent of women. Anxiety over dental appointments probably affects many more people, but no one has done effective studies that show precisely how many people suffer from this or how to affects our national dental health. While this percentage may not seem large, it actually represents millions of Americans. Therefore, be assured: that when you feel this way, you’re not alone.
Why do Patients Suffer from Dentophobia?
In most cases, people who suffer from anxiety or fear about dentistry have experienced some sort of negative event during a dental procedure in the past. For many people, it could have occurred in childhood. In almost all cases, it involved experiencing pain – often unanticipated pain. This is unfortunate, as it will cause people to stay away from getting the regular cleanings and check-ups that their dental health relies upon.
It’s also common that patients feel anxious or have a phobia about dentistry not because of dentistry itself but because of the position the patient is in when they are at the dentist. Dentists and dental assistants generally get very close to patients in order to perform their jobs properly, and this closeness makes people feel very uncomfortable. For others, simply allowing a dental technician to look closely at their mouth makes them feel embarrassed or uneasy. No matter the source of your anxiety or phobia about seeing a dentist, we take your concerns and feelings seriously and want to make you feel as comfortable and confident during each visit as possible.
While our clinic doesn’t always have all the answers about what is causing your fears, there are an endless amount of good things to know about dentistry in general and Dr. Sheehan’s practice:
For most children going through their first “procedure” it is a new and sometimes frightening experience. While this uncomfortable experience has stuck with you through the years, dental techniques and technologies have improved drastically in terms of pain management and abatement in the last few years.
Especially at Sheehan Dental, concerns about pain, discomfort, and anxiety, whether it’s during a cleaning or a more invasive procedure, are handled with professionalism and a caring team. In fact, attending to patients’ pain (and fears of pain) is now an important part of the education our entire dental team completes.
What is Next for Your Dental Health at Sheehan Dental?
When you have put off seeing a dentist because you have anxiety or a phobia, you will find that your fears are now compounded. However, the longer you wait, the worse shape your teeth will be in. The expert dental care professionals at Sheehan Dental strongly believe in the importance of regular dental care and strive to help you get on track with your dental health.
Dr. Sheehan encourages his patients to discuss any concerns or fears they have with him or his staff before any procedure. We have many different techniques to manage pain and anxiety and are happy to make your visit to our office as worry-free and pain-free as possible. Please call us today to find out how Sheehan Dental will help you.
Feel Completely Safe and Comfortable Throughout Your Entire Treatment
Visiting the dentist is no patient’s favorite thing to do, whether you have a phobia or not. At Sheehan Dental, our specialists treat every patient with the utmost care and respect, ensuring that they feel comfortable throughout the entire time that they are in our care. Get the best care from Palos Parks #1 Dental Clinic at Sheehan Dental! Schedule your next appointment online or visit our dental clinic; get directions here!