Is Dental Anxiety Genetic?

If you’re afraid to visit the dentist, you’re not alone. Every year 30 to 40 million Americans avoid regular dental visits due to anxiety. Fear of pain, lack of control, embarrassment and negative past experiences can all contribute to a person’s desire to avoid a trip to the dentist.

sedation dentistryA new study by psychology researchers at West Virginia University reveals that dental anxiety may actually be genetic. The “dental anxiety gene” is likely related to “fear-of-pain” genes that are inherited from parents. Extreme dental care-related fear causes many people to delay or completely avoid necessary treatments, resulting in gum disease, loss of teeth, chronic pain, infections and more.

Even if you inherited a fear of the dentist, you shouldn’t avoid regular dental care. Those with dental phobia have increased risk of early tooth loss and gum disease. They also suffer from lower self-esteem due to tooth discoloring or damaged teeth that cause them to smile less or talk with their mouths partly closed from embarrassment. People who avoid the dentist also have a lower life expectancy, as discussed in our previous blog series that outlined the links between gum disease and several serious health conditions.

Sedation Dentistry May Be Your Answer

At Caffaratti Dental Group, our knowledgeable and caring staff can put your anxiety to rest. Many of our procedures are pain-free, and we also offer sedation dentistry. Call our office to schedule a consultation today!