For someone who is afraid of going to the dentist, a toothache can be anything but trivial. Such a harmless-seeming symptom might be a mild inconvenience for the average person — perhaps scheduling the dental appointment requires them to take a day off of work, or maybe the possibility of another cavity is frustrating or disappointing.
But for someone who suffers from dental anxiety, a mild symptom like a toothache can feel like the end of the world. Even a basic check-up or cleaning can seem like a nightmarish experience. This fear can prevent people with dental anxiety from going to the dentist at all, whether that’s for regular cleanings, or to treat spontaneous problems like that toothache.
Dental Phobia Tied to Dental Problems
Researchers at King’s College London recently decided to investigate how dental phobia impacts oral health and dental care. The team reviewed data on over 10,000 people, around 1,300 of which experienced dental phobia.
The results were clear: Those with fear of the dentist were significantly more likely to have tooth decay and missing teeth than those without it. The researchers believe this is most likely because those who fear the dentist are less likely to see their dentist regularly for checkups, which can prevent decay. Additionally, the researchers suggested that the prevalence of missing teeth may be at least partially due to those with dental phobia preferring a quick tooth extraction over a more complex procedure.
Skipping the Dentist Makes Things Worse
Many people think that as long as they brush their teeth regularly and don’t have any horrible accidents, they shouldn’t really need to go to the dentist. Unfortunately, a dentist isn’t just someone you should see when things are going wrong. Not only can a dentist make sure that you’re performing home oral health care properly, but they can also help prevent problems by keeping an eye out for signs of gum disease, developing cavities, and even oral cancer.
Failing to go in for regular checkups can hurt you in the long run. In the early stages, gum disease can be treated and reversed fairly easily. But if it progresses far enough, it can have devastating consequences — not just tooth loss, but even elevated risk of other diseases. Similarly, if you catch a cavity when it’s small, it can be easily filled. But if that decay continues unchecked, you may end up needing a root canal.
Which would you rather have: A filling, or a root canal? It may be easy to answer that question hypothetically, but many who suffer from dental anxiety struggle with thinking in the long term about oral health.
This is where sedation dentistry can help. It’s easy: Your dentist will provide you with a mild sedative in the form of a pill that you can take at home before your appointment. Throughout the appointment, you will feel conscious, but extremely relaxed. You won’t feel any of the stress and fear that normally accompanies a dental procedure. Afterwards, you may not even remember the visit.
You need dental care — but you don’t need the anxiety that comes with it. If you’re looking for a sedation dentist in Altamonte Springs, call (407) 834-6446 or contact us online to learn more or make an appointment.