Relating Dental Anxiety and Fear of Pain

One common problem a dentist encounter is dental anxiety of patients. This is not funny if you think about it on a large scale. A staggering 75 percent of US adults have dental anxiety and this means many are not getting dental care.

Fear of Pain

One probable cause of dentophobia or dental fear is the abnormal and persistent fear of pain termed as algophobia or agliophobia. From the Greek word álgos “pain” and phóbos, “fear”, algophobia is an irrational, exaggerated, and persistent fear of pain. It is an unusual morbid fear that produces intense anxiety.

Researchers believe this condition comes from a person’s overestimation of how bad pain could be or the danger of a situation. This is when the thought of pain becomes so intense it overcomes a person and affects his physiology. Patients with algophobia report feeling pain at the slightest amount of pressure. This fear can build and lead to anxiety attacks. Imagine flinching in pain at the mere contact of popsicle stick to your mouth.

Pain is all in the Mind

A study on fear and pain featured in Stanford Report in 2006 shows that there are indeed significant differences with perception of pain between people and that these individual differences may be accounted for by differing anxieties and fears related to their pain. Pain is a matter of perception and in turn, this perception can affect the body’s reaction to pain.

In short, pain is all in the mind. Well, this is not so for many patients suffering from both conditions, as they imbibe the pain that first came to them as a thought. In response to the growing number of patients suffering from dental anxiety, especially resulting from fear of pain, dental offices like Red Cliffs Dental came up with a sedation process that eliminates pain during the procedure. Hypnotherapists may also help in alleviating anxiety.

Again, like what the experts always find out, pain and fear are all in the head, especially in dental operations. Dental care is meant to be enjoyed for the good it will do to your oral health. Don’t let your fear get in the way of your wellness.