What Are Some Symptoms of Dental Anxiety, and Is It Normal?

If you suffer from significant dental anxiety, you’re not alone. Dental anxiety affects nearly 20% of the population.

At The Dental Anesthesia Center, we work hard to make you feel at ease by providing exceptional patient care in a relaxed, convenient atmosphere.

In this article, we will help you learn how to recognize the symptoms of dental anxiety, how to cope with it, and how proper dental treatment can lead to less stress and a more positive experience at the dentist.

What is Dental Anxiety?

Dental anxiety means being stressed or anxious about visiting the dentist. Each person is different. Therefore, the cause and intensity of their anxiety will vary. Dental anxiety can be attributed to a variety of factors. Certain things about the dental setting may trigger their stress, such as a fear of needles. The perceived lack of control during a dental appointment can also cause a person to feel uneasy.

Dental fear, dental anxiety, and dental phobia are often used interchangeably but are not all the same. They are different psychological stages. 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 phobia is regarded as a physiological, emotional, and behavioral response to a feared stimulus.

A person with a dental phobia has a more severe condition than anxiety. They may feel terrified and panic-stricken. They may know their fear is irrational, but they cannot do anything about it. Anxiety will cause some patients to postpone or skip their dental appointments. However, most people still see their dentist despite feeling nervous or stressed. Yet, dental fear or phobia may keep them from going to the dentist, even when in severe pain or in an emergency.

Is Dental Anxiety Normal?

Nearly 75% of Americans feel some anxiety about going to the dentist. As many as 20% have a more significant form of dental anxiety and fear.

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

  • Fear of pain
  • Fear of needles or injections
  • Fear the injection won’t work
  • Fear of the side effects from the anesthetics
  • Fear of not being in control
  • Embarrassment or self-conscious about the appearance of their teeth
  • Loss of personal space
  • Feelings of helplessness
  • Dislike of clinical smells

So the simple answer is yes, dental anxiety is normal for more than half of all Americans. Therefore, if you feel this way, you’re not alone.

How to Cope With Dental Anxiety

Fortunately, there are many ways to cope with your dental anxiety or fear. 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 a severe dental phobia, Dr. Michael J. Hoffmann is 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 St. Louis.

Updated: January 8, 2023

Leave a Comment