Dental phobias can have many adverse effects on a person’s life. Due to avoidance of dental treatment, cavities, gum disease, or even tooth loss may develop over time, greatly harming an individual’s overall health, appearance, and self-esteem. Poor oral hygiene has been linked to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, bacterial pneumonia, diabetes complications, and osteoporosis. Also, due to the shame associated with being seen with damaged teeth, social situations may be avoided. This may cause depression as the result of feeling socially awkward and isolated.
Going to the dentist should be a part of everyone’s routine health plan. Routine dental care is not only important for oral health, but research has shown it is also important for maintaining the overall health of the entire body. However, despite its importance, some people avoid regular dental checkups because of dental phobias. Dental phobias are intense, sometimes irrational fears that lead to the avoidance of dental checkups and procedures. In some cases, the fear is so intense that it can cause a full panic attack. Sometimes, the fear is unexplained and irrational while at other times it is caused by past negative dental experiences.
Despite the trouble caused by dental phobias, having the right kind of dental care can help in overcoming the fears. Many have overcome their fears by using a dentist who is kind, patient, knowledgable, and who practices sedation dentistry. In sedation dentistry, the patient remains conscious while being relaxed and numbed through the use of oral sedatives, inhaled nitrous oxide gas, or intravenous sedation administered by an anesthesiologist. Sedation dentistry, while being safe and effective, helps create a peaceful dental experience with no pain and no anxiety. This in turn leads to better health, a more attractive appearance, and greater self esteem.