Dental Anxiety – What Is It and How Does It Develop?


Feeling anxious about an upcoming dental visit is understandable, but for victims of dentist phobia, the mere thought of sitting in a dentist’s chair can cause an overwhelming reaction that includes panic and even physical symptoms like nausea, dizziness, and shortness of breath. Over time, those who neglect to seek care because of dental anxiety may suffer serious consequences including early tooth loss and poor general health. It can be difficult to define and diagnose a phobia. There are many subtypes of dental fear, and not all dental fears are irrational or excessive. Anyone can suffer from dentist phobia.

Here are some of the most common causes of dental anxiety:

  • A previous painful or humiliating dental experience
  • The fear of criticism about oral care habits
  • A dentist who is uncaring, particularly one who does not manage patient pain
  • A loved one’s reaction to a negative dental experience or horror stories told by others
  • A history of being bullied or suffering emotional or physical abuse

Besides the distressing symptoms from anxiety and untreated dental problems, the effects of dental fear can lead to a loss of self-esteem and a sense of guilt over dental neglect. In some cases, poor oral health can lead to general health issues, and the effects on a person’s social and professional life can be significant. Extreme dentist phobia may even cause a patient to avoid all medical doctors for fear of them suggesting dental treatment after an oral examination.

Today’s advanced dentistry is generally pain free, and dentists now are more aware of the devastating impact of dental fear. Many who suffer from dentist phobia report that finding a compassionate dentist who is willing to work with them to reduce anxiety has made a world of difference. Patients wanting to escape their dental anxiety should speak openly about their fear with a dentist who cares about their concerns.

To learn about our family dentistry practice in Atlanta, call Dental One Associates of Georgia today at (855) 979-3350 or make an appointment.

Dental One Associates offers affordable family dentistry and gentle, compassionate dental care in Atlanta. With 8 affiliated practices throughout Georgia, our offices are conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At Dental One Associates of Georgia, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures and complete dental reconstruction. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover an affordable dentist who truly cares at Dental One Associates of Georgia.

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