Fact Sheets

Are you dental phobic?

One of the biggest problems for dental phobics in the past was that their phobia was dismissed as fear. People thought that everybody was afraid of the dentist and nobody liked a visit to their local dental practice. In fact, the practices themselves were never really designed to be welcoming or to make patients feel comfortable. It was just something we all had to do.

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How do you cure your dental phobia?

In the past, phobias have often been treated as a personality quirk. Now, the medical profession has a much more structured approach to supporting phobia sufferers and many more effective treatments at their disposal. When you look at the statistics, it is no surprise that they are exploring ways to tackle the problem.

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How to visit your dentist less

To be quite frank, the best way to manage your phobia is to get the professional support you need to overcome it. However, it is also important for phobia sufferers to do everything that they can to minimise the need to visit their dentist. Ultimately, of course, you may still need to make an appointment.

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What about special needs patients?

Everyone deserves quality dental care. However, not everybody is able or comfortable enough to enjoy care in a standard dental practice. Some people need specially designed environment or equipment so that care can be provided safely. For example, if a patient has physical disabilities, they may struggle making it to the dental practice by themselves.

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What if my child has a phobia?

Recently, the BBC reported on a tragic story that revolved around a case of dental phobia. An eight-year-old girl, who suffered from a severe dental phobia, was so traumatised by dental work that she later starved to death.

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What is a phobia?

It is helpful to answer this question by first understanding the difference between a fear and a phobia. Let’s say something in your immediate environment has caused you to feel fear. Usually, fear is a response to a genuine threat – for example, you are walking in the park and a menacing dog begins growling at you.

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What is dental phobia?

Statistics suggest that, in western countries, phobias afflict 7-13% of the population and that women are twice as likely to suffer from a phobia as men. However, as many people do not feel comfortable talking about their phobias, it is thought that this figure could be a lot higher.

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What is fear for?

Fear is one of our most valuable instincts. It aids our self-preservation, reminds us to beware of certain situations and helps us with risk assessment. From that perspective, it can be quite healthy to be afraid of certain things. Fear of heights, lightning, snakes or anything else that may bring danger is, pure and simply, a matter of common sense.

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Why are we afraid of dentists?

Dentophobia is a very common fear. But why is it so common? Obviously, there is the pain factor. But surely that cannot be the sole reason. In fact, when you talk to people who are dental phobic – their irrational fears are thoroughly diverse: they cover everything from a fear of choking to a fear of waking up during anaesthesia!

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