Despite revolutionary new dental techniques and technology that optimize comfort, fear of dentistry has stayed relatively constant over the past 50 years. It is ranked fourth among common fears and ninth among intense fears.
Severe dental anxiety leading to avoidance is all too common in the United States, where avoidance rates range between 6%–20% of the adult population. These are individuals who avoid dental treatment at all costs.
It is also understood that for dental patients who regularly seek care, nearly half have some level of anxiety when it comes to dental visits. These individuals frequently postpone necessary treatment. One study showed that lack of insurance, finances, or gainful employment had nothing to do with avoiding dental treatment—it was solely due to fear. Typically, the resulting neglect leads to dental breakdown that can be expensive and time-consuming to repair.
Dental phobics and adults who have dental anxiety can unwittingly project these negative emotions, causing others to absorb their perceived fear. Children are impressionable and often adopt parental fears. Body language and subtle comments can be transferred in such a way that they create a subconscious fear in an ‘‘innocent bystander.’’
For most, overcoming dental fear begins with small steps. Many feel they are able to relax once they verbalize the origin of their fear to a compassionate dentist who is trained to care for a dental phobic’s special needs. This conversation always takes place in our Consultation Room that is void of the smells, sounds or images typically associated with fearful elements in a dental office.
If you or someone you know has fear of dental visits, we begin the conversation with a simple question-&-answer session. From there, we let the patient determine his or her comfort in proceeding. There is no cost for this consultation and patients can set the pace according to their unique needs.
Small steps are easy when you feel you are on the right path. Call our office at (586) 739-2155 to learn more.