Fear and anxiety can present in different ways. Avoidance is one of the primary signs of fearing the dentist. About 15% of people in the United States don’t go to the dentist because of anxiety about their visit. The first step in helping a family member care for their oral health is learning to identify anxiety.
How to Identify Anxiety or Fear of the Dentist
Here are 3 common symptoms of dental anxiety:
1. Scheduling an appointment and canceling about a day before with no rescheduled date.
2. Skipping the scheduled appointment altogether.
3. Hiding in the bathroom or leaving before the appointment.
How Long Since They Saw a Dentist?
Do you know the last time your family members went to the dentist? If it’s been more than two years, there’s probably something other than inconvenience keeping them from making an appointment. It’s recommended that everyone visit the dentist at least twice a year for exams and cleanings.
Avoidance Can Make Dental Anxiety Worse
People who are scared of the dentist will tolerate pain as conditions worsen. Ongoing toothaches are almost always caused by inflammation from irritation. If your tooth hurts, there’s probably something that needs addressing.
Studies prove that one instance of dental anxiety in the family leads the rest of the family to have a higher level of anxiety about the dentist, too. Children under eight have been found to be the most susceptible to taking on a fear of the dentist from family members. Children with parents who have dental fear and anxiety are not only more likely to take on that anxiety, they’re also more likely to have an increased presence of dental carries.
For more information on dental anxiety, check out these blogs.