How Common is Dental Anxiety and Why Do People Have It?

If you have not been to the dentist because you suffer from moderate to severe dental phobia, we are here to help!

According to the NCBI, 36% of people suffer from dental anxiety or dental fear. Another 12% suffer from extreme dental fear. This means that it is a fairly common problem that many Americans experience. But the question remains, why are people afraid of the dentist?

Nearly half of all people with dental problems avoid dental care due to their fears and anxiety. If you experience dental anxiety, even extreme dental fear, The Dental Anesthesia Center is here to help. Modern, safe anesthesia techniques allow the fearful patient to have dental procedures accomplished without the anxiety associated with dentistry.

Forms of Dental Anxiety

We hear the terms dental fear, dental anxiety, and dental phobia. Are they just different ways of saying the same thing?

Dental fear, or also phobia, and dental anxiety are different psychological stages for patients. A person who experiences dental anxiety has apprehension or feels a sense of danger or uneasiness in dental situations. On the other hand, dental fear or a phobia is regarded as a physiological, emotional, and behavioral response to a feared stimulus.

A person with a dental phobia has a more serious condition than anxiety. They may feel terrified and panic-stricken. They may be aware that their fear is irrational, but they cannot really do anything about it. This fear, unfortunately, keeps them from going to the dentist unless in severe pain or an emergency.

Causes of Dental Phobia or Anxiety

There can be many reasons why some people experience fear or anxiety about going to the dentist. Some of the common reasons include:

  • Fear of pain – This is a common issue for a lot of people. This fear generally stems from an early dental experience that was painful or unpleasant. For some, they have heard so-called horror stories from others.
  • Fear of injections – Many people are terrified of needles, especially when needing an injection in the mouth.
  • Fear the injection won’t work – Included in fear of needles is a fear that the anesthesia won’t work. Perhaps they feel it hasn’t taken effect yet or that it wasn’t a large enough dose to eliminate the pain completely.
  • Fear of the side effects from the anesthetics – Anesthetics can make a person feel nausea, dizziness, or faint. It also makes the area that is numb feel very strange. Many fear these odd feelings.
  • Fear of not being in control – Many people have feelings of helplessness and loss of control. After all, they are sitting in a dental chair with their mouth open wide, unable to see everything that’s going on.
  • Embarrassment – Many people feel self-conscious about the appearance of their teeth or mouth.
  • Loss of personal space – Many people do not like being close to others. They may feel uncomfortable about the physical closeness of the hygienist or dentist in their face.

A Comfortable Solution

Modern dentistry has made significant advancements in recent years. Many of today’s dental procedures are considerably less painful or even pain-free. If you have not been to the dentist because you suffer from moderate to severe dental phobia, Dr. Michael J. Hoffmann, Dr. Sean M. Thoms, and Dr. Behl are here to help you. At The Dental Anesthesia Center, we value our patient relationships, making it our priority to deliver the gentle dental care you deserve.

Call Us Today

The Only Board Certified Dental Anesthesiologist in Missouri, including the St. Louis Metro Area.

Call (314) 862-7844
Updated: August 31, 2023

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