Dental Anxiety: The Causes Explained

Nervous patient looking at the dentistMany years ago, being afraid of the dentist may have been dismissed as an irrational fear. However today severe dental anxiety, known as dental phobia, is recognised as a legitimate condition with different triggers. The underlying causes of dental phobia are as varied as the number of people who experience it, which in the UK is around one in ten.

Two common triggers for dental phobia are the tools of the dental trade, namely needles and drills. A dentist for nervous patients in London, such as Care Dental Platinum, can help patients overcome these fears.

No Thanks to Needles

Certain dental procedures require the use of a dental block, which is the injection of local anesthesia to numb certain areas of the mouth. The end result is dental treatment that keeps discomfort to a minimum but for those with a fear of needles, getting to this point can seem impossible. One potential reason is that previous injections have been painful. In the past blunt needles were often responsible for this. A modern dentist, for nervous patients in London or otherwise, generally uses a brand-new needle for each patient, which makes the injection less painful. Knowing this can help adult patients come to terms with having a dental block. With children, distracting techniques are often used as well as topical anesthesia to numb the nerves before injection.

The Daunting Drill

Drilling a tooth is often necessary to remove decay and carry out repairs. The sound of a drill can trigger such anxiety that carrying out the actual drilling becomes impossible. Fear of the drill may not be due to a previous bad experience but simply a visceral reaction to the idea of such a powerful tool being used in such a sensitive area. Technological advances mean drills are less painful and less noisy than before. Having the time to mentally prepare for a procedure and talk things through with the dentist, before the drill is applied, can help alleviate anxiety. This paired with local anesthesia, music to drown out the drill sound and sedation can make undergoing treatment with the drill more manageable – all of these techniques are usually available at a dentist for nervous patients in London.