What Is Dental Fear?
Dental fear may also be referred to as dental phobia or dental anxiety. A phobia is an extreme fear of an activity, situation or object. People with a dental fear or phobia can avoid having routine dental care for a few months to many years. Because of this avoidance of the dentist or dental office, patients will develop gum disease, gum infections, dental decay and experience pain. Patients will put up with these issues for months or longer until they can no longer manage the pain or the embarrassment of having an unsightly smile or teeth. Rest assured that many others experience dental fear and you are not alone. Advancements in dentistry help to offer everyone a comfortable experience during their dental visit.
Impact of Dental Fear
The consequences of dental fear impact dental health and can even lead to anxiety and loss of self-esteem in some cases. Some people may find themselves covering up their smile or laughing less depending on the appearance and condition of their teeth. They may also avoid certain jobs that involve frequent public interaction.
The biggest impact is still on dental health. When oral health is neglected or ignored, small issues that could have been resolved easily end up becoming complex issues. Reversible gum disease will progress to irreversible damage to the gum tissue and bone in the mouth. Gum infections can spread to the jawbone causing bone damage which leads to loose or even missing teeth. Increasing your survival rate of oral cancer depends on early detection. Avoiding regular dental visits and exams greatly reduces the chance of detecting oral cancer or other anomalies earlier.
Sedation Dentistry Can Help!
Many dental offices now offer a range of sedation options to help patients with varying levels of dental anxiety. Below is a list of available levels of sedation options.
- Minimal sedation – you will be awake but in a relaxed state.
- Moderate sedation – you may slur your words while speaking and you may not remember much of your visit.
- Deep sedation — you are on the borderline of consciousness, but you can still be awakened when needed.
- General anaesthesia — you will be completely unconscious during the entire procedure.
If you have been putting off getting dental treatment, you no longer have to worry. Sedation dentistry allows you have many routine procedures with minimal to moderate sedation. If you have an intense fear of going to the dentist, deep sedation or general anaesthesia will allow you to have a worry-free visit.