Dentophobia, or fear of the dentist, affects an estimated 36% of the American adult population, all with varying degrees of dental fear. From a little bit of uncertainty to a feeling of anxiousness and a flat-out phobia, there are many reasons why someone may feel uneasy about seeing their dentist in Walnut Creek. It’s important to know that we’re here to listen and help you relax at every visit.
Prior Dental Experiences
A study published in the National Library of Medicine found that many people who are scared of the dentist can trace their fear back to a negative experience, usually one that occurred during childhood. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the dentist was bad. In fact, more research suggests that there is a correlation between the type and amount of dental treatment a child has had and the severity of their dental anxiety. For example, a child that had multiple serious treatments such as extractions is more likely to have dental fear later in life than kids who visit the dentist regularly and experience ongoing preventive care.
Even if someone personally didn’t have a negative experience in the dental chair growing up, they may still have a fear of seeing their dentist in Walnut Creek due to learned behavior or mindset from a parent, sibling, or another close acquaintance. This is one reason why it’s so important to speak positively about seeing a dentist (or any doctor for that matter) around kids and others.
White Coat Syndrome
Occasionally, some people have a negative body reaction whenever they visit a dentist or medical doctor. This can be known as white coat syndrome. White coat syndrome can cause a spike in blood pressure whenever in a doctor’s office. An increase in blood pressure can cause someone to feel uneasy, hence the feeling of being scared of the dentist.
The same National Library of Medicine study from above also examined two types of personality traits and how they may relate to dental fear. The two traits were:
- Extraversion – warm, excitement-seeking, assertive
- Neuroticism – anxious, self-conscious, showing depressive symptoms
The scientists found that those two traits may have a correlation to dental anxiety with neuroticism being more likely to experience dental fear.
Overcoming Dental Fear
We understand that fear is a very real feeling for many people. But there are some tricks you can try to help overcome dental fear such as:
- Using relaxation techniques
- Asking about the use of sedation dentistry
- Finding the right dentist that makes you feel comfortable
- Listening to music
- Talking with your dental team about your fears and communicating often
Being relaxed and comfortable when you visit your dentist in Walnut Creek is important for many reasons. One of those reasons is that you will be more likely to keep up with appointments every six months, which can go a long way in keeping your teeth healthy and reducing the need for complex treatment.
If you’re overdue for a dental appointment, talk with us. We’re here to help you keep you relaxed and at ease, and the more we know about your fear the better we can assist you.