We don’t know many people who actually enjoy going to the dentist. The reality, though, is that one’s oral health and overall health go hand in hand, making routine cleanings all the more important. But what happens when you have dental phobia?  

An Overview of Dental Phobia

In short, dental phobia is the fear, stress, or anxiety that a patient gets in a dental setting. This anxiety often stems from triggers such as drills, needles, or other tools. Dental fear in some patients can be traced back to a bad experience at the dentist years ago.

No two cases of dental phobia are the same. For example, a number of patients with dental fear will show signs of distress and/or discomfort while receiving treatment. Other patients, meanwhile, have such an extreme phobia that they avoid seeing the dentist altogether.

We want to speak to the latter group for most of this post. Sure, it might seem convenient to put off treatment for an extended period of time. You may even be able to convince yourself that as long as you brush and floss your teeth, there’s no need to go to the dentist.

This couldn’t be further from the truth! Keep reading to learn how dental anxiety impacts your health. 

The Link Between Dental Anxiety and Your Oral Health

Have you ever wondered why you go to the dentist every six months? It’s so that your dental care team has the chance to detect any problems in their early stages. The sooner your dentist can spot a potential problem, the simpler and less invasive treatment you will need.

Keep in mind that most dental disease is preventable. When you combine regular brushing and flossing on your own with regular dental checkups, you’re able to address a minor issue (the early stages of gum disease, for example) before it becomes a more serious one (bone loss, for example). So when anxiety keeps you from going to the dentist, you’re missing out on professional cleanings and X-rays that play an essential role in maintaining good oral health.

The Impact of Dental Phobia on Your Overall Health

Don’t believe there’s a connection between your oral health and general health? Think again. Without proper dental hygiene, bacteria can reach levels that might lead to infections such as periodontitis (gum disease) and tooth decay. Additionally, there are diseases out there that can lower the body’s ability to fight infection, making oral health problems even worse.

Here are several conditions that can be negatively impacted by poor oral health.

  • Heart disease – This is an important point for those who already have heart disease or have a history of the condition. Initial research shows that cardiovascular disease might be linked to inflammation and infections caused by oral bacteria. 
  • Diabetes – Experts note that gum disease seems to be more prevalent among people who have diabetes. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Research shows that people who have gum disease have a harder time controlling their blood sugar levels. Regular periodontal care can improve diabetes control.”
  • Alzheimer’s disease – Those who have Alzheimer’s typically see their oral health worsen as the disease progresses. 

Learn About Our Sedation Dentistry Treatments

As you can see, not going to the dentist out of fear can have serious consequences. This is why patients with dental phobia are turning to sedation dentistry.

Here at New Smile Dentures And Implants, we understand just how debilitating dental phobia can be. Regardless of the severity of your anxiety, we have sedation dentistry options that make receiving treatment a painless experience. 

So who can benefit the most from sedation dentistry? Well, if you struggle to sit still, have a low pain threshold, or have an overactive gag reflex, sedation dentistry could make a world of difference during your treatments.

At New Smile in Denver, patient comfort is our top priority. Whether you opt for mild sedation or something a bit stronger, we want you to feel at ease during your appointment. Dr. Steele and the rest of our staff will go above and beyond to ensure you receive the necessary dental care without feeling anxious.

Contact New Smile Dentures And Implants to learn more about our sedation dentistry options!