Dental Fear Research Looks At Age Groups

added on: August 10, 2015

Is the age of an individual a factor in dental fear levels?

According to findings in a study published by the National Institutes of Health, age has very little to do with having, or not having, dental fear. The results were somewhat surprising since it is often assumed that the 65+ age groups would have more memories of less-than-gentle dentistry that wasn’t uncommon a generation ago. These traumatic experiences are often the origin of most dental fear in adults.

In the study, over 1,400 individuals completed a questionnaire designed to measure dental anxiety and dental fear. They were also asked about their age, sex, education and frequency of dental visits. The participants were then grouped according to sex as well as five age categories.

The results showed a higher level of dental fear in females (nearly 10% compared to 8% for males). However, there was minimal variation of fear levels between age groups. Adults without a high school education and those who had avoided dental care altogether had higher scores, regardless of age group.

The most common response to dental fear cited was increased heart rate and perceived pain from seeing the needle used to administer numbing medication. Perceived pain can cause any sensation, whether it’s actually uncomfortable or not, to feel like pain. This is where oral sedation can make a tremendous difference.

Oral sedation is taken prior to your arrival at our office. This allows you to be relaxed from the time you enter and throughout your treatment. Our staff is specially trained to create a relaxing environment, especially for fearful patients. Knowing our commitment to your comfort, combined with sedative effects, helps many of these patients complete much-needed dentistry.

It’s sad to know there are adults who avoid dentistry altogether due to fear. Especially when there are dentists who have created an office that is sensitive to the comfort of ALL patients and offers special measures for those who do. Let us help.

Too much anxiety to come for a consultation? Ask our friendly phone staff to arrange a telephone consultation. During this time, I can answer your questions, explain our sedation options (both oral and I.V. sedation) and discuss additional features in place to optimize your comfort at all times. Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles for a time that works for you.