Dental anxiety is one of the main reasons why countless individuals worldwide do not get the necessary dental treatments. A person with dental fear may find it extremely hard to even plan on going to the dentist, and will feel even more anxious whenever the time to go to the dentist actually arrives. In some cases, a nervous patient may even go to great lengths just to postpone and cancel dental appointments in order to avoid a potentially uncomfortable experience. Nervous patient care options such as conscious sedation are now available to help anxious patients have more comfortable dental treatments, but it is still beneficial to know what the most common dental anxiety triggers are.
One of the most common triggers of dental fear is pain, or the idea of going through a painful experience. No one wants to go through a painful episode, but nervous patients are even more anxious about the possibility of encountering pain and discomfort. The concept of pain may come from a previous personal experience, such as going through a dental treatment in the past that caused a great deal of discomfort. However, the fear of pain may also come simply from hearing others’ stories, and may not be necessarily a personal experience. Another factor that triggers dental anxiety is fear of the needle, especially if an anesthetic is needed for a dental treatment. A person who hates needles will feel very nervous with the idea of facing a needle for the procedure, and may make excuses just to avoid going through the said experience.
The sights and sounds in a dental clinic can also cause an episode of dental fear. The sound of a dental drill is one of the worst sounds that a nervous patient can encounter. The shrill sound that the drill makes can aggravate the nervousness that an anxious patient feels, and the sound is also closely associated with a painful experience. Even the actual sights and smells inside the dental clinic can trigger a panic attack in anxious patients. This can come from previous bad experiences in other dental clinics which are associated with negative emotions. In some cases the waiting time for the treatment may trigger the same anxiety as the actual dental treatment. Worrying about the treatment cost is another factor that contributes to dental phobia. Not knowing what the actual cost is, or thinking about paying a huge amount for the treatment, will add to the list of things that makes an anxious patient highly nervous.
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By: Henry M Cook
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