Although you’re embarrassed to admit it, you’re afraid of the dentist. It all started when you were a child and you saw a provider who had a gruff chairside manner. You remember being tilted back in the chair without warning and the shrill sound of the drill that prepared your teeth for a filling. And, since you didn’t receive enough numbing agent, the pain was intense. Flash forward to your life as an adult, and it’s no wonder that you avoid going to the dentist unless things are out of control. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Dental anxiety is exceedingly common and that’s why Dr. David Tripulas, your compassionate dentist in Wharton, offers safe sedation dentistry to keep you completely at ease at every dental appointment. Learn more about dental anxiety – and what you can do about it – in this post.
How Common Is Dental Anxiety?
According to research from The Journal of the American Dental Association, up to 75% of Americans deal with dental anxiety. While up to ¾ of the population is afflicted with general fears and dental anxiety due to poor past experiences with dentists, The Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology Journal reports that around 20% of people are affected by a diagnosed form of the disorder or have dental phobias. Phobias, unlike anxiety, are defined as fears that are “excessive and unreasonable.”
So, while people with dental anxiety have had traumatic experiences in the past that cause them to be afraid of the dentist, patients with dental phobias have fears that are more extreme, and sometimes irrational. But, even if the phobia is based on emotion rather than experience or logic, it doesn’t make the fear any less intense or real – or treatable.
How Can Dr. Tripulas Help With Dental Anxiety & Phobias?
About 40% of dentists offer some form of sedation dentistry, which can include stress management techniques, as well as inhalation, oral conscious, and IV sedation. As your experienced sedation dentist in Wharton, we provide inhalation (nitrous oxide or “laughing gas”) and oral conscious sedation to keep our patients relaxed and safe while undergoing treatment.
With inhalation sedation, you’ll receive a sweet-tasting gas through an inhaler that’s placed over the nose – simply breathe in, and let the medication take effect within seconds. In oral conscious sedation, you’ll take a prescription sedative medication that will allow you to be calm, but aware and in control during your dental treatment. These are two of the most researched and safest methods of relaxation dentistry available.
Should I Be Embarrassed If I Have Dental Anxiety Or Phobias?
Absolutely not! Scholarly journals and articles aside, the numbers don’t lie – dental anxiety is remarkably common and nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, even the athletes and celebrities in the list below have documented fears of the dentist, so you’re in good company:
- Lebron James
- Jennifer Aniston
- Kevin Hart
- Kelly Osbourne