Odontophobia is the technical term for something that affects millions of Americans. Some people are mildly affected while others have a severe case of this fear.
Odontophobia is fear of the dentist. It affects millions of people throughout the United States and billions of people worldwide. Experts have estimated that as many as 1 in 5 people are so afraid that they completely avoid the dentist.
Others go to the dentist only in emergency situations. Even people who are comfortable coming to the dentist for a routine cleaning may feel some anxiety if they find out that they need a more complicated procedure.
The dentists at Advanced Dental Associates in San Antonio understand that some patients may need assistance to receive the dental care that they need, which is why we offer comfort and sedation options.
The Effects Of Anxiety
Anxiety can include feelings of fear, nervousness, and worry. That can affect us in a variety of ways.
While you are likely aware of the emotional effects of anxiety, you may not be aware of how it can affect you physically.
► Adrenaline Rush
You probably remember discussions of the “fight or flight” response from your days in school. This is a stress response that triggers a release of adrenaline into your body.
In certain situations, this can be a helpful reaction. If you experience this frequently or for an extended period of time, however, it can be harmful.
► Respiratory Issues
Anxiety may cause you to breathe quickly and rapidly. Frequent anxiety has been linked to chronic respiratory disease (COPD). Anxious people may be at higher risk to contract colds and the flu, too.
► Weakened Immune System
Long-term anxiety can affect your body’s ability to fight off bacteria and viruses. In some patients with anxiety disorders, vaccines may be less be less effective.
► Other Health Issues
Anxiety may make you more likely to experience irritable bowel syndrome, affect your appetite, and increase your risk of high blood pressure.
In a more general sense, you may feel fatigued or have trouble sleeping as a result of anxiety.
Causes Of Dental Anxiety
Think for a moment about how you would feel if you knew that you had a dental appointment tomorrow. If that makes you feel anxious or afraid, do you know why?
Are you worried that the dentist will be judgmental? You won’t find that with the staff in our office.
Are you are concerned that the dentist will criticize you for waiting so long between visits? We certainly like for our patients to visit us a few times every year, but we also want to make your return to the dentist as pleasant as possible.
Are you worried about the financial impact of dental care? We welcome you to call our office and talk to someone about the payment options that are available to you.
Are you afraid that your dental treatment will hurt? This is a common fear, and it’s the reason we offer three kinds of sedation dentistry for our patients.
Before we get to our sedation options, we also want you to know about the comfort options that we offer.
This starts with our welcoming staff. When you call to make an appointment or when you visit our office, let us know if we can do something to help you feel more comfortable.
We have private operatories to keep your care between you and our dental professionals. We also provide neck pillows and blankets for our patients. This can help you feel more cozy when you are seated in a dental chair.
Last but not least, ask about scheduling a longer appointment. By doing this, you can feel comfortable taking a break during your treatment if you feel overwhelmed by anything.
Some patients would prefer to put their treatment out of their minds in one way or another. We can help you accomplish this through sedation dentistry.
Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) is the fastest form of sedation. You breathe in the gas to feel its effects, which will help you remain calm and relaxed throughout your dental care. When it’s over, we turn the gas off, and you can go on with the rest of your day.
If you would rather not remember your treatment, we may recommend oral conscious sedation. You will take a pill before your appointment. By the time you treatment begins, you will be feeling drowsy or you may fall asleep. You will need someone else to take you home with this kind of sedation.
The strongest sedation we offer is IV sedation. This will leave you in a “twilight state” so you can respond to the dentist even though you probably won’t remember any of your procedure. You will need a ride home with this kind of sedation, too.
Understand Your Options
If you haven’t been to the dentist in years, we know it may be hard to make an appointment right away. We welcome you to stop by or call our office in San Antonio to learn more about our approach to dental care first.