Is Dental Anxiety or Phobia Real?

Having a genuine anxiety or phobia about going to their local Red Deer dental clinic is a very real thing some people experience and is nothing to be ashamed of. It is, however, something you should work with your dentist to overcome. For some people, this feeling of anxiety around the dentist is so strong that they refuse to get the oral care they need, even if they’re in great pain.

In everyday use, the terms “anxiety,” “phobia,” and “fear” are often used interchangeably. They are, however, slightly different. Fear is usually a reasonable reaction (typically leading to the desire to run away) to a real threat and is a useful instinctual response. Anxieties and phobias, on the other hand, are excessive and irrational fears that exist even in the absence of a real threat. For many people, going to the dentist is unpleasant but they know that getting care from dental clinics will ultimately benefit them. If you have a phobia or anxiety, however, the knowledge that it’s beneficial does nothing to make you feel better. An anxiety is a strong feeling of unease, often felt physically, whereas a phobia is even stronger, a real paralysis around the subject.

Visiting a Dental Clinic: Symptoms of Dental Anxiety and Phobia

A lot of things can cause anxiety about the dentist. For some people it’s the sense of a loss of control, and for others its negative associations with a bad dentist visit as a child. Even soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorders have reported anxieties about the dentist. If you experience any of these symptoms, you may have a dental anxiety:

  • Trouble sleeping the night before a dental visit
  • Proximity to dental clinics or instruments cause panic
  • Thinking about going to the dentists causes a physical reaction of anxiety
  • Trouble breathing when dental instruments are in your mouth

Parents should be aware, however, that if their children have any of these symptoms when they go to their pediatric dentists, it might not be a fully developed anxiety or phobia. Kids pick up a lot from their parents, so if you treat your Red Deer dentist with anxiety, your child might as well.

Is There a Way to Deal with Anxiety at the Dentist?

Dental anxiety and phobia is more common than you might think. We at Dr. Caroline Krivuzoff-Sanderson’s Red Deer dental clinic can help patients get the oral care they need. The most important first step is to make an appointment and let your dentist know that you have anxiety about going to the dentist. If you have extreme anxiety, dental clinic at Red Deer can offer sedation dentistry, which helps patients relax.

If you need a pediatric dentist or just a regular, stress-free cleaning, contact us today at our Red Deer dental clinic, 403-346-0077.