Dental Anxiety and Dental Phobia: What’s The Difference?

Having to undergo a dental procedure can be a frightening experience. Although some may get by these treatments with little trouble, others have a more difficult time dealing with the stress and fear of visiting the dentist. This condition is called dental anxiety. It is typically used interchangeably with phobia, but they are not the same thing. Here’s what you need to know:

What Is Dental Anxiety?

Dental anxiety refers to experiencing fear or unease when visiting a dentist or getting treatment. Having this condition may lead to missed or postponed dental appointments. Despite that, most people who experience dental anxiety will still visit the dentist even if they feel panic or even a racing heartbeat.

There are several causes of dental anxiety. This may be a previous traumatic experience at the dentist, triggers like needles and drills, and fear of loss of control brought about by the dental setting. You may also have an increased risk of dental anxiety if you have a mental health condition like depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, or a previous head and neck trauma.

What Is Dental Phobia?

Although dental phobia or fear of the dentist may be caused by the same reasons as anxiety, it is a more severe condition in comparison. People with this phobia will feel completely terrified and overwhelmed at the thought of visiting the dentist, that they may not go altogether. This may result in neglecting proper dental care and lead to oral complications.

Some signs you may have dental phobia include having difficulty sleeping the night before your appointment and feeling physically sick or emotional before a procedure. Overcoming this fear can be difficult and oftentimes require the help of your dentist.

As dental anxiety and phobia may compromise your oral health, it’s beneficial to learn how to manage their symptoms. Some techniques include deep breathing, guided imagery, and distractions, like listening to music during a dental procedure. In some cases, therapy or medical management may be necessary, such as anxiety-relieving medication or sedation dentistry.

Reach Out to a Reliable Dental Expert

Dental anxiety and phobia can prevent you from getting the treatments necessary in achieving proper oral health. To learn more about how to handle these symptoms, it’s best to talk to your dentist. Contact Aegis Dental Group or Angola Dental Center to meet our dental team and learn more about our services.

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