Do Dental Cleanings Cause You Anxiety?

  • Feb 25 2020

Is it really that important to have your teeth cleaned twice a year even if you practice good dental hygiene at home?

Human nature is often perverse. We consistently do the things that we know are likely to cause us pain or heartache in the end, and we are masters at avoiding the things that we know are in our best interest. Making and keeping those appointments for dental cleanings twice a year is one of the best examples of the latter. 

It is a well-known fact that plaque and tartar build-up in places on our teeth where we simply cannot adequately remove it, even with the most diligent brushing and flossing. This build-up can result in the development of serious dental issues, such as cavities and periodontal (gum) disease. Anyone who has experienced these knows that it would have been far less painful and expensive to have avoided them with simple cleanings. What may be even more important to understand, though, is that infections that start from lack of cleaning can actually be the catalyst that leads to increasing your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes or even having a stroke. 

So, if we know the dangers and know that the simplest and most effective way to prevent this is by visiting our dentist twice a year for cleanings, why don’t we do it?

Dental Anxiety

There are a variety of possible reasons for not getting regular cleanings. Some people feel they can’t afford the time or the actual monetary cost. Others mistakenly believe that they are doing enough with their own brushing and flossing. None of these are good reasons. The time is negligible and can be scheduled on a lunch break. Many types of insurance cover cleanings and there is ample documentation that home care is not adequate.

There is another reason that people avoid going to the dentist: dental anxiety.

It is estimated that perhaps as many as 25% of people struggle with fear of the dentist. For some, it is a nearly crippling phobia, which makes it next to impossible for them to see a dentist until they are in extreme pain. For most, though, the thought of going to the dentist creates some level of anxiety. While dental cleaning is not something that is usually thought of as being painful, pain is not the only thing that can trigger this form of anxiety. Others include:

  • Loss of control – feeling trapped in the dentist’s chair, mouth open, unable to talk or really see what is happening. Basically, a feeling of being helpless.
  • Personal space issues – some have issues with anyone being so close physically.
  • Embarrassment – worry about bad breath or the condition of their teeth can cause some to be overly self-conscious. 

In addition, there is always the possibility that some problems will be detected during the cleaning that precipitates a further exam by the dentist. This can set off the anxiety that is related to the fear of pain. Most dental procedures today are nearly painless, but, for some, especially older patients, there are memories from the days when a trip to the dentist could be very painful. 

What can you do about dental anxiety? Avoiding going to the dentist is the one thing that you should not do. It will inevitably lead to issues that will be far more traumatic than necessary. Plus, any fears that are ignored tend to only grow stronger. What can help is to find a dentist that you are comfortable with and can talk to about your concerns. Your story is likely to be very familiar to them, and there is a good chance that they will be able to help you work through it. 

If you experience dental anxiety or have questions about any of our services, whether dentistry or aesthetics, Forest Hills Dentistry is dedicated to delivering the highest quality services possible. We offer the latest and most current information and services to our patients with a new state-of-the-art facility in Forest Hills, Queens. Patient comfort, individualized care and complete satisfaction are our priority. 

For more information or to schedule an appointment, you are invited to use our online form by clicking here

Categories: General Dentistry