What Causes Dental Fear and Anxiety?

Dental Fear
Written by Nancy

‘Dental Fear and Anxiety’ (DFA) affects around 80% of people. 16.2% suffer from ‘dental phobia’, an actual phobia recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Cycle of Dental Fear

Patients suffering from DFA are stuck in a vicious cycle. Initially, dental fear arises from a painful experience in one’s childhood. Lying down on the dentist’s chair with tools sticking in one’s mouth can be a vulnerable state to be in. And if the child does not feel safe and comfortable in that state, they begin to associate feelings of anxiety and pain with the dental visit.

This association transforms into a deep-seated fear which can affect them well in their adulthood. Patients delay visiting the dentist which further exacerbates their condition.

Fear of Pain

Another reason for DFA is the perception of pain.

A survey indicated that those who had not visited a dentist for 12 months listed pain as the main reason, often hoping that the discomfort will subside by itself and a visit to the dentist will only cause unnecessary pain.

Feelings of Helplessness

In the dentist’s chair with their hands beside them and their mouth open, the patient is not in control of the situation. The lack of control and complete helplessness is something people have trouble processing.

Fear of Injections

Trypanophobia, or fear of needles, is a recognized phobia that affects 22% of the population This fear is most prevalent among young children with a reported figure of 63%. The probability of receiving an injection or any pointed instrument in their mouth discourages people from a dental visit. This is unfounded because of sedative dentistry.

High Costs

Cost is an important determinant that is factored into people’s decision of whether to visit the dentist or not. 33.9% of people do not have dental insurance. In their decision-making process, the cost of going to the dentist outweighs the slight pain or discomfort they’re experiencing.

Most dentists today, however, introduce reasonable financing options and payment schedules that help take the burden off patients.

Undoubtedly, what majority of it boils down to is the demeanor of dentists with their patients. Advanced Dental Center is Germantown dentistry service who understands how the process of visiting a dentist can be overwhelming and confusing.

If you’re an anxious patient, they walk you through the process and help you understand the best dental solution that’s right for your condition. Call (301) 353-8890 to set up an appointment.

About the author



I’m Nancy and no, I didn’t always look like I do in that picture on the right. My foray into health and fitness began as a brace-faced, 16 year-old who was too afraid to wear a two-piece at the beach because I felt my body paled in comparison to my much more toned friends.