Consequences of dental anxiety on health and wellbeing
According to an Adult Dental Health Survey, 36 per cent of adults in the UK admitted to being moderately ‘dental anxious’. About 12 per cent of respondents acknowledged having more severe feelings of dental anxiety, where they would avoid seeking dental care no matter what or would need sedation for even routine procedures.
Dental phobia is a global problem that can have disastrous consequences for oral, physical and mental health; and ultimately on one’s quality of life. There are various degrees of dental fear, from mild nervousness to full-scale panic.
Anyone who completely avoids seeking dental care does so to the detriment of their overall health. There is a growing body of scientific evidence that links the lack of professional care and interventions from a dentist Stevenage to a decline in dental and overall health.
How does lack of dental care impact health and wellbeing?
Not visiting a dental practitioner for oral health checks or for preventive dental interventions dramatically increases the likelihood of you experiencing dental problems. What many don’t understand is that those routine dental check-ups recommended every six months are crucial to identifying worrying symptoms. These symptoms, if not treated accordingly with preventive dental treatments, escalate over time into more serious complications.
Poor oral health issues can affect both dental health and function. Dental pain can make it painful and a challenge to eat and speak. Any problems with eating will have a direct influence on nutritional deficiencies which, in turn, results in a weakened physical body.
Another adverse consequence of a lack of professional dental care is that some dental health problems lead to or aggravate chronic medical conditions. Periodontal disease is a case in point. A decline in poor oral hygiene raises the risk of gum disease. Gum problems need interventions from a dental practitioner or else will progress into severe gum disease. Studies have shown that patients with a history of gum problems are more likely to suffer from potentially fatal medical conditions including cardiovascular and respiratory diseases as well as certain types of cancers.
People suffering from dental phobia may also have issues with their smiles. It takes regular professional dental care to keep a smile happy and healthy. Being embarrassed about the state of your smile can easily lead to a drop in confidence. In this way, having a discoloured, crooked or gap-toothed smile can have a negative impact on mental health. Being able to make friends, find a romantic partner and being hired or promoted all require a healthy dose of confidence from a healthy smile. It is all of these things that also raise the quality of life you lead.
From the above, it is clear that overcoming dental anxiety is important to maintaining overall health and well-being and living a good quality of life. For patients who have difficulties and face dental anxiety, speaking to a trusted and understanding dental practitioner is the first step to getting the help and care they need. They might be able to prescribe sleep or conscious sedation options that are better suited to individual preferences. And with the right level of sedation, the procedure can take place without much hassle.
It is also important to choose a dental practice that has a reputation for providing patients with a positive and pleasant dental experience. A good dentist should be able to provide some level of comfort and reassurance to the patient so that his or her anxiety and fear towards procedures reduces.