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Sleep dentistry – Fear of the dentist

Woman Sleeping During Sleep Dentistry

Sleep dentistry – Fear of the dentist

Sleep dentistry – Fear of the dentist

Join us for a closer look at the causes and implications of dental phobia. Anxiety around visiting the dentist is common, but you don’t have to suffer in silence.

A phobia causes intense and persistent fear, anxiety and panic. A phobia is debilitating and interferes with normal life. People suffering with phobias avoid certain situations and places at all costs. You can experience anxiety and fear without necessarily suffering from a phobia.

  • Anxiety is a nervous reaction to an unknown danger. It is extremely common and most people experience some degree of dental anxiety without it becoming a major hindrance.
  • Fear triggers a fight or flight response to a known danger, such as being confronted with a threatening situation.
  • Phobia is similar to fear but much stronger, triggering a response just by thinking about or being reminded of a threatening situation. Someone with a dental phobia will totally avoid visiting the dentist until a physical problem or the psychological burden of the phobia becomes overwhelming.

Common causes

Some of the most common causes of dental phobia include:

  • Bad experiences – such as painful past dental visits.
  • An uncaring dentist – pain caused by a dentist who seems caring is much less likely to result in psychological trauma than that caused by a dentist perceived to be cold and uncaring.
  • History of abuse – phobia is common in people who have suffered abuse or bullying, whether physical or emotional.
  • Humiliation – insensitive remarks or negative social evaluation by a dentist or hygienist can contribute to dental phobia.
  • Vicarious learning – or observational learning, for example if a parent is afraid then children may pick up on this and learn to be afraid, even without a bad experience. Or by hearing of others’ horror stories and believing a negative depiction of ‘the dentist’ in media sources.
  • Post traumatic stress – people who have had a bad dental experience in the past can suffer from symptoms typically found in people with PTSD, such as intrusive thoughts of the bad experience or nightmares about the dentist or dental situations.

The impact of phobia

Anyone can be affected by dental fear and phobia, regardless of age, gender or income. Phobias can have wide-ranging consequences; not only does your dental health suffer but it can lead to anxiety attacks and depression. It can make you feel like you need to hide your teeth and avoid meeting people out of embarrassment, or avoid jobs that involve contact with the public. Loss of self-esteem over not being able to do something as ‘simple’ as visit the dentist, and feeling guilty over not having looked after your oral health properly is very common.

Nowadays dentistry should be virtually pain free, so finding the right dentist for you can make all the difference. At Siana Dental we provide a caring, gentle dental experience tailored to your needs. We can also supply a range of sedative options to eliminate any chance of pain and help you relax during treatment.

Dr Max (Mayur) Patel – The Sleep Dentist

Dr Max is Siana Dental’s specifically endorsed general dental and conscious sedation practitioner. With over 20 years’ experience, extensive qualifications and vast knowledge he is able to provide exceptional care to his patients. Dr Max takes pride in helping nervous patients become confident and anxiety-free.

If you think sleep dentistry might be good for you and would like to learn more, or to book an appointment, please contact us. Our wonderful support team is happy to assist you with any needs or questions that you may have.

Click here for more information on dental phobia.