Dentophobia, more commonly known as a fear of dentists, is one of the most notorious phobias in society. With 9-20% of the American population avoiding their regular checkups due to their fears, the risk of disease and decay is far greater. This is particularly dangerous for patients who already have poor oral hygiene, meaning the health of their teeth deteriorates rapidly. Other aspects of a person’s health can also be impacted, as there are links between heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Typically, the phobia can arise from an unpleasant experience with a previous dentist or associated with past treatments that have been painful and/or had implications. Treatments for phobic patients typically involve more gentle dentistry and giving information on treatments in a gentle manner. More extreme treatments given include light sedation, to give the patient a more effective way to combat anxiety.
The most effective way to solve dental anxiety is to give proper education to the youth and adults who aren’t yet informed on proper healthcare and how to avoid diseases that require more intense treatments. Providing comprehensive and less stressful treatment from a young age builds a solid base to a person’s comfort when visiting the dentist.