New research shows that 10% to 16% of the adult population has a high dental fear.
“I hate the dentist,” is a phrase spoken on a daily basis to most dentists by fearful and anxious patients. There are many other variations on a similar theme including, “please don’t hurt me,” and, “I’m a coward at the dentist.” Often people spontaneously break into tears as soon as they sit in a dental chair. While people express it in different ways, the central issue is that many people are anxious or fearful about a visit to the dentist. This article will outline the causes or dental fear and anxiety, the prevalence of dental fear and anxiety, as well as the 10 most common reasons people feel fearful or anxious at the dentist.
There are numerous factors that can contribute to fear and anxiety at the dentist. Many scientific studies have tried to find the origin of dental anxiety, however the results suggest that the origin is varied from person to person. Some common factors that seem to contribute to dental anxiety are: people’s evaluation of their current treating dentist, memories of anxiety from childhood and certain personality traits such as interpersonal sensitivity, general anxiety and phobic anxiety.
According to studies, 10% to 16% of the adult population has a high dental fear. Females have a higher percentage than males of high dental fear. The highest rate of high dental fear is in the 40 – 64 year old age group. The lowest rate of high dental fear is in the over 80 year old age group. The prevalence of high dental fear in children ranges from 3% to 43% in the scientific literature.
The ten most common reasons people feel fearful or anxious at the dentist:
- Fear of pain
- Fear of the needle
- Fear of the drill
- Fear of what the dentist will find wrong in their mouth (fear of needing treatment)
- Fear of the cost of dental treatment
- Fear of choking
- Fear of embarrassment
- Fear of loss of control
- Fear of not knowing what is going on in their mouth
- Fear of not seeing the right dentist for them
Dr Stephen Dudgeon and Dr Stephen Tangney at Avenue Dental Caloundra are both Dental Phobia Certified to treat fearful and anxious patients at their state of the art dental practice in Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast. When someone says, “I hate the dentist”, what I hear is, “I am anxious at the dentist;
please treat me with extra special care and attention and I will be extremely grateful,” Dr Stephen Dudgeon.
If you would like more information please call Avenue Dental Caloundra on (07) 5491 1111