Dental Anxiety and Phobia: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Dental Anxiety and Phobia: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
Smiles On Hickman

Smiles On Hickman


According to one study, 30 to 40 million Americans avoid dental visits due to dental anxiety or phobia.

What Is Dental Anxiety?

A person suffers from dental anxiety when he or she is scared about their dental procedure. In the advanced stage of this condition, a person tries to avoid any dental treatment altogether, which can lead to poor oral health.

Signs and Symptoms of Dental Anxiety

Some symptoms of hidden dental anxiety are profuse sweating and palpitation. The patient may also experience low blood pressure and faint at the time of treatment. The patient’s dental anxiety is said to be visible when they show symptoms like apparent distress, panic, shouting, and crying. 

Sometimes patients also try to withdraw from the dental procedure by giving excuses or showing aggression. Occasionally they will also use humor to hide their nervousness.

Reasons for Dental Anxiety and Phobia

There are various reasons for developing dental anxiety and phobia. This anxiety mostly appears in patients who might have experienced a traumatic dental treatment. A previous head or neck injury could also be the reason for the fear. Trust seems to be the main factor.

How Dental Anxiety or Phobia Can Affect Your Oral Health

Dental anxiety and phobia cause patients to avoid dental treatments. Unfortunately, this behavior often turns simple dental issues into complicated ones that require advanced treatment. 

How to Manage Dental Anxiety

In case you are afraid of dental procedures and find it challenging to keep up with your dental appointments due to your dental anxiety, here are some of the treatment options which can help to ease your stress: 

  • Relaxing Techniques

    A person who is having mild dental anxiety can feel more relaxed by techniques like deep breathing, music, meditation, guided imagery, hypnosis, and progressive muscle relaxation.

  • Inhaling Nitrous Oxide

    Your dentist may also offer nitrous oxide, which would give you the appropriate combination of oxygen and nitrous oxide to breathe as an effective and safe method to manage anxiety and pain associated with a dental procedure. You will be relaxed but still awake.

  • IV Sedation

    IV sedation dentistry uses different medications intravenously to help patients relax or fall asleep during their dental procedures. However, they can still respond to verbal prompts. It ensures that the patient feels no pain during the entire procedure.

At Smiles on Hickman, we provide high-quality sedation dentistry services that can help to ease your dental anxiety.

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Smiles On Hickman

Smiles On Hickman

Smiles on Hickman is a family dental practice located in Des Moines, IA. We are committed to providing the best, personalized dental care solutions to patients and their families. Our well-trained and experienced team of dentist in Des Moines,IA ensures that our patients feel comfortable during their visit with us. We use advanced dental techniques that enable us to provide quality care in the fields of cosmetic dentistry, restorative dentistry, sedation dentistry, oral surgery, and more. We strive to form long-lasting bonds with all our patients and offer them a lifetime of healthy smiles.