One of the most common fears and anxieties in the world is dental fear. While it is certainly understandable why you might be afraid of a trip to the dentist, please understand that these fears are almost always based on outdated notions about the tools and practices of modern dentistry.
Here at the office of Ronald L. Proctor, we want everyone in Carrollton to have a healthy and beautiful smile, and we can help you with that. But you have to come into our office first.
Causes of Dental Anxiety
Fear of seeing the dentist doesn’t just come out of nowhere, it is caused. But the causes of dental fear are as varied and different as the people who experience it. Here are some of the common factors that lead to dental fear:
First-Hand Experience – Sometimes dental fear is legitimately based a painful or stressful experience from your past. Unfortunately, frightening experiences from your youth can stay with you for years. One isolated incident can shape how you feel about dentistry, which can have negative effects on your oral health that are harder to reverse the longer you avoid going to the dentist.
Second-Hand Experience – Other people’s experiences can influence how you feel about dental work, as well. If you hear enough horror stories about going to the dentist, eventually you might start to believe them, and avoid dental visits yourself.
Media – Dentist have gotten a bad rap from TV and movies over the years. Not only is the popular depiction of dentists inaccurate, it is unfair. Modern dentistry is a high tech practice that is largely pain free, especially when you see your dentist for regular cleanings and examination, since any dental problem you might develop will be caught and treated early.
Feeling of Helplessness – Even if you haven’t had any bad dental experiences, you don’t listen to exaggerated tales of dental trauma, and you don’t buy into media stereotypes, you may still find yourself avoiding a trip to the dentist because of nervousness or fear. Lying still for a long time while someone looks inside your mouth can give you an overwhelming sense of helplessness. This is enough to keep some people away from the dentist for quite a while.
Effects of Avoiding Dental Visits
Even if you practice impeccable dental care, brushing and flossing twice a day, watching what you eat, and drinking plenty of water, you still need to come into our Carrollton office for regular cleanings and examinations. The fact is, we simply have the equipment, experience, and expertise to clean in places you can’t, and to catch the early stages of problems you wouldn’t even know to look for.
No matter how you look at it, avoiding the dentist will take a toll on your teeth.
Tooth Loss – One of the main reasons for seeing the dentist is to avoid tooth decay. Cavities are bad enough, but if they are left untreated they will only get worse. Tooth decay can make its way all the way through your enamel and into the soft pulp at the center of your teeth. Once it gets there, the decay is serious and it can move to the roots. At this point, we could probably still save your tooth with a root canal, but if the decay goes much longer without being treated, you will lose your tooth.
Gum Disease – There are places between your teeth and around your gumline that are hard to get clean without a professional cleaning. When plaque builds up in these hidden crevices, it gives a place for bacteria to hide. Bacteria, in addition to causing tooth decay, causes gum disease. In its early stages, gum disease is very hard to detect, which is why most people don’t realize they have a problem until it is already in the advanced stages.
Advanced gum disease causes your gum to recede away from your teeth and expose your vulnerable roots to decay. This, and the lack of support from the receding gums, can lead to tooth loss.
General Health Problems – Tooth loss is more than a simple cosmetic issue, although it certainly will affect the way you look. How many teeth you have affects how well you are able to chew, and how well you can chew determines the type of food you eat. Healthy foods, like lean meats and fruits and vegetables, require require a lot of chewing, whereas overly processed, soft foods are not very good for you. Also, if you are missing several teeth and chewing becomes very laborious, you may avoid eating altogether.
Another problem with tooth decay is that it can lead to an infection in your mouth. An infection anywhere in your body can cause trouble for your whole body. Just because the infection starts in your mouth doesn’t mean it will stay there. The infection can spread to your bloodstream, and from there, to anywhere in your body, causing serious illness.
This could all be avoid by visiting the office Ronald L. Proctor, DDS for regular cleanings and examinations. So, even though dental anxiety is common and understandable, don’t let it affect your health or livelihood.
Contact our Carrollton office today to schedule an appointment.
Be sure to check back soon to read our next blog on dental sedation options in Carrollton, TX.