Next Halloween, parents may suggest their kids dress up as dentists as according to research out of England, dental care practitioners are some of the scariest creatures on the planet. As a matter of fact, visiting the dentist causes more anxiety than a fear of snakes or spiders.
In America, estimates suggest that approximately 15 percent of the population (over 45 million people) suffer from dental phobias including dental fear or dental anxiety (The Anxiety Disorders Association of America). Some common dental phobias include belonephobia (fear of needles), fear of embarrassment from having poor dental health, fear of pain and apprehension over drilling (used to create dental fillings) and fear of gagging. This apprehension also exists across the pond and as a result, survey respondents voted the fear of the dentist their number one agitation.
The British Dental Health Foundation questioned what made over 1,000 study participants nervous in the form of the Adult Dental Health Survey. Survey takers were asked to list their top fears from a list that included categories such as heights, flying, injections, doctors, snakes, spiders, hospital visits and dentist appointments (MedicalNewsToday.com). One out of five ranked going to the dentist as one of the most objectionable fear.
The fear of the dentist was triggered by two of the most common dental treatments. Three out of ten survey participants (totaling 30 per cent) cringed at the thought of tooth drilling. Nearly an equal amount of 28 percent reported dental anxiety surrounding getting an injection of a local anesthetic (Adult Dental Health Survey).
Regardless of where dental anxiety sufferers live, their fear may prohibit sufferers from getting the preventative dental care they need to ensure good dental health. Statistics provided by the American Dental Association have shown that approximately 25 percent of all Americans avoid going to the dentist because of dental fear. That is unfortunate as that can actually make getting dental care more painful and expensive in the long run.
Preventative dentistry is the simple act of daily brushing and flossing backed by participating in regular dental visits twice a year. By an individual conducting the latter, dental plaque can be reduced and that will lower the odds of developing tooth decay and gum disease. A regular dentist check up will allow a dentist to catch those conditions in their earliest stages. By treating those dental problems early on, the odds of having to undergo painful dental procedures such as oral surgery or replacing missing teeth with dental implants will be nearly eliminated.
Dental anxiety sufferers scared of the expenses associated with dentistry should know that preventative dentistry could also save cash. Some individuals have estimated that for every one dollar funneled towards preventative dentistry can result in a savings of $8 to $50 on restorative and emergency dental care. Ultimately, preventative dentistry could save Americans $4 billion annually.
Why patients may not appreciate the irony of the situation, dentists are the first line of defense for individuals interested in reducing their dental anxiety levels. Dental schools are dedicated to teaching the importance of communication as an important factor in reducing anxiety levels and new technology including treating dental cavities with air abrasion (not drills) and using powerful anesthetics can take the pain out of the equation.
If you are a dental anxiety sufferer, 1-800-DENTIST can help you find a great dentist that can calm your nerves, reduce discomfort and implement the dental treatments you need. Simply dial our toll-free number anytime and our compassionate operators can point you in the right direction of a skilled dentist that will make sure you get the dental care you need in a stress free environment.