Fear of Future Dental Work


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Another common fear is the fear of having to have future dental work. This is one fear that in particular stops the patient from having the essential regular check-ups. It may not stop a patient from very occasionally visiting a dentist but it regular visits to the dentist are vitally important and this fear often stops the patient from having these much needed appointments.

Why would I need to have further dental work?

The purpose of most dental appointments is simply to check up on the health and hygiene of your teeth and mouth. If your dentist finds something amiss then they will either book you in for further examinations or for treatment. Your dentist will always discuss treatment options with you, but will often recommend the best course of action for your teeth. The most common reason for needing further dental work is tooth decay, which is brought on by bacteria that wear away the hard material of your teeth (enamel for example). The result is a progressive deterioration, or decay, of your tooth, that can be extremely painful if untreated. This is one example of a condition that would need to be treated as soon as possible, and will often see you back in the dentist’s chair within a week or two.

Fear of future dental work and dental phobia

The core element of this fear is simply that the patient is terrified that if they visit the dentist and allow themselves to be examined, they will be told that they have to go through a long and drawn out treatment which will require frequent visits to the dental surgery. This fear is in some ways similar to that of being afraid of the diagnosis; the patient doesn't know what is going to happen but fears the worse. For some patients, a fear of dental work may be rooted in an earlier experience; such as having to undergo dental treatment that lasted for over a year, which is often the case with braces which are for the most part generally given to children or teenagers. Sometimes a child or teenager who has gone through a long, and sometimes uncomfortable, ends up developing a fear that any future routine check-up will result in a similarly lengthy treatment. The memory of pain or anxiety can cause a phobic reaction. A person may remember experiencing several painful and uncomfortable treatments, and thus become afraid that a simple visit to the dentist may result in something complicated and painful. The final factor in this area of fear can be cost, long term treatments can be costly, and that can put some people off attending an appointment in the first place.


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