Why People Suffer From Dental Phobia

September 19, 2010
By marqpdx

Why People Suffer From Dental Phobia

Dental phobia is the serious, often paralyzing fear of seeking dental care. A very reliable source of survey report says that 50% of the American population does not go for regular dental care. An estimated 9-15% of the American people stay away from much needed care due to anxiety and fear surrounding the dental experience.

This can have serious ramifications on ones overall and especially general health. Unhealthy gums and teeth can definitely affect one’s speech. One’s self esteem can also suffer a lot if the person feels insecure about his breath and smile. This can obviously lead to various limitations in one’s social and business environments.

But why do people suffer from such dental phobia? There are certain reasons why people are so scared of visiting a dentist. The reason could be any of the following:

Bad experiences: The most common cause for dental phobia is some previous bad some dental experiences. This not only includes painful dental visits, but also psychological behaviors such as being ill treated by a dentist.

Uncaring dentist: It is often believed that even among dental professionals, that it is the fear of pain that keeps people from visiting a dentist. But if pain is the major concern for people then why should people not run to a dentist to get rid of acute toothache? It is rather the fear of pain inflicted by a dentist, which has a huge psychological impact.

Humiliation: Another big cause of dental phobia include insensitive, humiliating remarks by a dentist or hygienist. In fact, insensitive remarks and the intense feelings of humiliation they provoke are one of the main factors, which can cause or contribute to a dental phobia.

Vicarious learning: Another cause is observational learning. If a parent or any other family member is scared of dentists, kids easily pick up on this and learn that it is normal to be scared of dentists, even in the absence of bad experiences. Sometimes also, hearing other people’s horror stories makes children stay away from the dental care visits.

Post-Traumatic Stress: Research suggests that people who’ve had horrific dental experience suffer from symptoms typically reported by people with post-traumatic stress disorder. This is characterized by intrusive thoughts of the bad experience and nightmares about dentists or dental situations.



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