Odontophobia, the fear of the dentist, prevents millions of people from getting the dental care they need to prevent serious dental issues. Some studies suggest that up to 75% of the population experiences at least some degree of dental fear, and actual odontophobia affects 10% to 15% of the population.
One of the problems with dental phobia is that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Patients fear that when they go, there could be painful and expensive procedures in store for them, so they don’t go until their oral pain leaves them no choice. At that point the procedures needed are much more invasive than they would have been if the patient had obtained routine treatments in a timely manner.
Consequences of Not Facing Dental Fear
Ignoring routine preventative visits can lead to tooth decay, lost teeth, and gum disease. But because the blood vessels and nerves in the mouth are connected to the rest of the body, infections and decay in the mouth can also cause or contribute to serious problems elsewhere. Severe dental problems have been linked to heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
Where Odontophobia Comes From
No one is born with a fear of the dentist. However, a bad experience can leave an impression that is difficult to overcome without help. A pre-existing anxiety disorder, or the feeling of a lack of control, can also lead to fear. Dental phobia starts at the subconscious level, so you can’t make it go away with simple reason or logic.
Tips For Overcoming Your Fear of the Dentist
There are, however, several things you can do to overcome your fear:
Dental practices have come a long way from the days when pain was inevitable. Modern dental anesthesia can make many routine processes virtually painless, and many dental offices are as sensitive to patients’ fears as they are to their physical pain.
Lane Avenue Family Dentistry in Jacksonville has experience working with patients who experience dental fear. We understand, and we’ll work with you to help you achieve and maintain good dental health with sensitivity to your concerns and past experiences. Please call us at 904-783-1422 to discuss.