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A phobia is an irrational severe fear that leads to avoidance of a feared situation, object, or activity. If you find yourself sinking at the thought of the dentist office, if your heart starts racing and you start feeling shaky and nervous, you might have dental phobia.

There are many reasons why one may develop a dental phobia, and anyone is susceptible to developing one. The most common causes of dental phobia include bad experiences, a history of abuse, an uncaring dentist, humiliation, vicarious learning, preparedness, and post-traumatic stress.

There are three types of dental phobias:

1. Dental Anxiety is a reaction to an unknown danger. Anxiety is really common and most people experience dental anxiety to some degree — especially when they are about to have a procedure done which they have never undergone before.

2. Dental Fear is a reaction to a known danger and often involves a fight-or-flight response when confronted with threatening stimulus.

3. Dental Phobia is basically the same as fear, but much much stronger. The fight-or-flight response kicks in immediately when just thinking about the threatening situation.

Dental phobia can have a major impact on one’s life. It can affect the way their health suffers. It can affect the experiences they have in life and can lead to anxiety and depression.

If you think you have a dental phobia, speak with your dentist today to see about ways you can overcome it.