Dental Anxiety and How It Can Affect Oral Health
Patients who are anxious about visiting the dentist often avoid their cleaning appointments and exams, letting their oral health issues go untreated for long periods of time. As such, dental phobia can have a significant negative impact on oral health, often leading to tooth loss and the development of gum disease. Since dental health is so closely linked to overall health, dental anxiety can also contribute to the deterioration of your overall wellness. Dr. Clint Newman is very understanding of his patients’ fears and offers IV sedation provided by a licensed anesthesiologist at our Nashville, TN, practice. Sedation dentistry helps patients maintain healthy, dazzling smiles while in a state of relaxation.
What Is Dental Phobia?
While many individuals feel nervous or anxious about their appointments at the dentist, dental phobia is much more serious. A phobia is a deep-seated fear. Individuals with dental phobia may avoid dental appointments for years, causing their oral health to deteriorate. Anxiety about seeing the dentist is a common condition and can stem from many causes, such as:
- Fear of pain
- Prior negative experiences at the dentist
- Fear of injections or anesthetic side effects
- Embarrassment about the state of your oral health
- Fear of being ridiculed or scolded for neglecting your teeth
Many phobias stem from a feeling of helplessness or loss of control. Individuals with dental anxiety may dislike the sensation of sitting in the dental chair, unable to see what is happening or predict when pain or discomfort will occur. Whatever the reason for your phobia, Dr. Newman and our team will work with you to ensure you feel calm and comfortable during your treatment.
Consequences of Avoiding the Dentist
Regardless of how well you care for your teeth at home, there is no substitute for regular professional cleanings. The equipment, experience, and expertise of our staff and dental practice allows us to clean in areas of the mouth you cannot reach at home as well as detect early signs of issues which can have serious consequences when left untreated. When you avoid necessary visits to the dentist, a range of health issues can result.
Regardless of how well you care for your teeth at home, there is no substitute for regular professional cleanings.
Professional cleanings are the best way to prevent tooth decay. When you avoid regular appointments, decay can spread, causing cavities which can progress when left untreated. In serious cases, the decay can reach the soft pulp at the center of your teeth and move into the tooth roots. At this point, root canal therapy may be necessary to save the tooth.
Having healthy gums is crucial for the overall health and stability of your smile. During a professional cleaning, your hygienist will clean between your teeth and around the gum line to prevent plaque buildup. Plaque buildup creates a place for bacteria to hide and cause periodontal disease. In early stages, gum disease is difficult to detect and can advance quickly when left untreated. Advanced gum disease can cause gum recession, dental sensitivity, and tooth loss.
Tooth decay often causes infection. Once you have an infection, it can easily spread from your teeth and gums into your bloodstream. At this point, the infection has access to your entire body and can cause a serious illness.
Health and Nutrition Issues
Your teeth are an important part of your overall health. Strong, healthy teeth allow you to chew nutrient-rich foods, such as lean meats, fruits, and vegetables, which help nurture your body. When you lose teeth, it becomes difficult to chew these healthy foods. Replacing lost teeth is crucial for the health of your smile and body.
We Can Help You Overcome Dental Phobia
If you experience dental phobia or are nervous about a certain procedure, we can help you relax and feel comfortable during your treatment. We will meet with you beforehand to discuss what happens during IV sedation, the risks of IV sedation, as well as communicate with you throughout your treatment to ensure you are not feeling stressed or overwhelmed. In addition, we have a board-certified anesthesiologist on staff who will administer your IV sedation therapy.
Schedule Your Appointment
Dr. Newman and our team are dedicated to creating a comfortable, welcoming environment so our patients feel at ease during their dental treatments. We understand that it can be stressful to visit the dentist. Find out more about how we cater to patients with dental phobia by contacting our office online today.