Dentophobia, or the fear of the dentist, is a common and well-documented experience that affects people of all ages. For many, a visit to the dentist is associated with discomfort, pain, and the anticipation of unpleasant restorative dentistry procedures. However, it’s interesting to note that the way individuals experience and cope with dentophobia can change as they age.
Whether you experience mild or extreme fear of the dentist, the team at Chisholm Trail Smile Center in Duncan, OK, can help. Call (580)255-4880 to learn more about ways to soothe dental anxiety
In some cases, patients develop a fear of the dentist as they age. Others, however, learn to adequately manage their anxiety as they mature. In this blog, we explore how fear of the dentist can evolve across a lifespan.
Pain, unfamiliar sounds, and the looming threat of needles can be overwhelming for young kids. Furthermore, dental offices may seem scary and mysterious, contributing to early dentophobia.
Parents play a critical role in shaping their children’s attitudes toward dental care. Encouraging a positive dental experience in childhood is crucial for preventing lifelong dentophobia.
Some teens outgrow their childhood dentophobia, while others experience a resurgence of fear. Oftentimes, the fear of judgment or ridicule from peers may intensify dentophobia during adolescence.
As people enter adulthood, their relationship with the dentist can vary greatly. Some individuals overcome their fear, recognizing the importance of dental care for overall health.
On the other hand, dental anxiety can persist or even worsen in some adults. Financial concerns, busy lifestyles, and dental problems left unaddressed for years can contribute to fear and avoidance. In fact, a 2014 study found that the highest rates of reported dental anxiety occur in patients ages 25 to 45.
In older age, dentophobia often takes a different form. The fear of losing teeth and declining oral health becomes a significant worry. Accessibility and mobility issues can also make dental visits challenging.
It’s essential for older adults to receive proper dental care and to communicate their fears and limitations to their dental professionals. Many dental offices offer services tailored to the needs of seniors.
Coping with Dentophobia
Overcoming dentophobia at any age involves a combination of strategies:
Understanding dental procedures and what to expect can demystify the process and reduce fear.
Discussing your fears with your dentist can lead to more comfortable and less intimidating treatment plans.
Breathing exercises and mindfulness can help reduce anxiety during dental visits.
Dentists can offer sedation to ease anxiety, even for simple procedures.
Maintaining routine dental visits can help prevent the development of severe dental issues, reducing the need for extensive procedures.
Support from Loved Ones
Having a friend or family member accompany you to the dentist can provide emotional support.
If your dentophobia is severe, consider seeking professional help from a therapist specializing in phobias and anxiety.
Overcome a Fear of the Dentist with Dr. Bridges
The experience of dentophobia changes with age, often influenced by various life factors and individual circumstances. Recognizing your fear of the dentist and taking steps to address it is essential for maintaining good oral health throughout your life. Let Dr. Bridges and his compassionate team help you along the way.
Contact Chisholm Trail Smile Center in Duncan, OK, online, or give our crew a quick call at (580) 255-4880 for patient-focused care.