Dental technology has come along in just a short time. In twenty years, we may even be able to grow back our teeth. Even just since the 70s and 80s, dentistry has become safer, quicker, more effective, and more painless. But despite leaps and bounds in dental technology that have made time in the dentist’s chair easier than ever, dental anxiety is prevalent.

If dentistry has gotten so much less scary, why are people just as afraid of it as ever?

A young woman resting in a dental chair, scared, as she covers her mouth in fear. If dentistry has gotten so much less scary, why are people just as afraid of it as ever?

Understanding Dental Fear

Of course, “fear of the dentist” isn’t quite that simple. There are lots of fears that make up dental anxiety: Fear of needles, a sensitive gag reflex, claustrophobia, and even simply the fear of loss of control, or the fear of being judged on their oral health habits.

Some people are afraid because they’ve been told horror stories that don’t properly represent modern dentistry. Sometimes those horror stories come from parents or older relatives who lived through a time when dentistry was very different, or are simply outliers or exaggerations. Others have had traumatizing experiences in the past, perhaps in their childhood. But while many people do fear the pain of dentistry, not everyone who experiences dental anxiety is haunted by visions of rough-handed dentists wreaking havoc in their mouths — some people are afraid of making the appointment at all, or of being trapped in a chair with a dentist’s hands in their mouth and no way to communicate.

New methods of anesthesia and highly refined dental procedures have effectively all but eliminated pain from the dental experience. But the wide variety of sources of dental anxiety explain why simply removing pain from the equation may not be enough to end the fear of the dentist forever.

Overcoming Dental Anxiety

No matter the source, dental anxiety doesn’t have to stop you from getting the dental treatment you need. Thanks to advances in sedation dentistry, it’s now easier than ever to conquer your fears and experience anything from a simple cleaning to a complex procedure without fear or pain.

The mild medication used in sedation dentistry won’t knock you out, but it will deeply relax you. You won’t experience any feelings of stress, and afterwards you may not remember the procedure at all. For some people, one treatment is all they need to conquer their fear and make future visits easier. For others, sedation dentistry is the long-term solution to ensuring their anxiety doesn’t hurt their oral health.

Talk with your dentist about what sedation dentistry has to offer, and stop missing those cleanings! They help to keep your mouth healthy and to catch any complications before they become bigger problems.

If you think sedation dentistry might help you get the dental care you need, please call (907) 274-7691 today for an appointment with an Anchorage sedation dentist at Denali Dental Care.