Is adult dental anxiety possible? Yes, it’s possible, some people may never grow out of their childhood anxiety, while others may start feeling nervousness towards dental visits later in life.
The key to coping with dental anxiety is finding the best dental care possible in your area and then discussing these fears with the dentist. Looking for general dentistry services in Columbia, Maryland? Contact Dr. Michael Hsu of Columbia Smiles today by calling 410.690.4855 or reaching out to our team online.
What Is Dental Anxiety?
Dental anxiety is exactly what it sounds like. It involves fears, worries, and stressors associated with a dental setting. It typically manifests as a fear of visiting the dentist, which can result in delaying or outright avoiding dental treatment that could be necessary for maintaining someone’s oral health.
Typical triggers of a phobia like this include seeing common dental equipment, such as drills or needles. Sometimes, even seeing videos or photos taken in a dental setting can trigger dental anxiety. When a child or adult experiences dental anxiety that’s severe and causes irrational fear, it can be classified as a dental phobia or dentophobia.
Some mental health conditions, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), bipolar disorder, clinical depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia, or a previous history of head and neck trauma, may increase the risk of someone developing dental anxiety as an adult.
Can Dental Anxiety Develop in Adults?
Yes, adult dental anxiety can develop. People struggling with adult anxiety about dentists may experience the following symptoms:
- Excessive sweating
- Low blood pressure
- Possible fainting spells
- Racing heartbeat or palpitations
- Social isolation and withdrawal
- Using humor or aggression to mask anxiety
- Visible distress, crying, or panic
Most people struggling with dentophobia will routinely miss or avoid dental appointments and may find it difficult to undergo dental treatment, regardless of its complexity. Even a simple teeth cleaning procedure can be terrifying for people like this. In fact, between 9% and 20% of Americans avoid their dentist because of anxiety or fear.
Dental phobia is a more serious condition than anxiety. As with any other phobia, it leaves people panic-stricken and terrified. Adults struggling with dentophobia may understand that their fear is unfounded, yet they’re unable to overcome their stresses. Instead, they exhibit classic avoidance behavior, meaning they will do everything possible to avoid going to the dentist.
When Should You Consider General Dentistry Services?
Whether or not you experience adult anxiety over dentists and dental procedures, it doesn’t erase the fact that regular dental checkups and teeth cleanings are essential to maintaining your oral health. As an adult, you must schedule regular checkups with your general dentist. These appointments not only help you keep up with regular teeth cleanings but also help you to avoid significant oral health problems.
Ideally, general dentistry is preventative. Most of the procedures done during checkups aren’t painful but provide useful information for the dentist. These details can assist them in making recommendations to their patients such as suggesting fillings for cavities or tooth extractions when needed.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that people visit their primary general dentist regularly, at least once every six months, to ensure proper oral health and hygiene.
Discover More About Columbia Smiles’ General Dentistry Services
If you’re searching for general dentistry services in Columbia, Maryland, contact Dr. Michael Hsu of Columbia Smiles today. Call 410.690.4855 or reach out to our team online.