One of the primary reasons that people do not go to the dentist is dental anxiety. Estimates vary, but somewhere between 10-15% of the American population, or 30 – 40 million people, avoid much needed care due to anxiety and fear surrounding the dental experience.

Whether this stems from a previous bad experience, the media, or friends who have told them horror stories, the result is that they neglect to maintain their dental health by avoiding visits to the dentist, and in turn create more problems.

As we discussed last time, the key factor for good oral hygiene is prevention – stopping problems before they arise. Unfortunately, phobic patients who suffer from severe anxiety do not visit the dentist for regular care. This results in more complex problems which require more invasive solutions, which in turn creates more fear and anxiety.

A recent study in the British Dental Journal has found that despite the advancement of modern techniques and the use of very effective anesthetics, patients still seem to maintain the same level of anxiety as they did years ago. The proportion was shown to be the same today as it was in the 1930’s.

Are you avoiding dental treatment because of fear? If so, the first thing you need to know is that you are in good company and there is nothing wrong with you. Next time I will discuss what positive things can be done to reduce your dental anxiety and allow you to get the treatment you need and want.

Yours for excellent dental health,
Dr S