A lot of people are afraid of going to see the dentist. Most people have bad experiences of sitting in the chair and having procedures performed on them, going back to when they were children. However, according to the British Dental Health Foundation (BDHF) a lot of these fears are now outdated.
The charity looked at the results from the latest Adult Dental Health Survey and found that a surprisingly large number of people are apprehensive about visiting the dentist. One in three patients suffer from moderate dental anxiety, while around one in eight have to deal with extreme dental anxiety.
However, the BDHF also believes it has found the root of this fear: the patients’ childhood. According to the survey, roughly 80 per cent of people’s first memory of the dentist is associated with pain, fear, injections, gas and drilling. This can easily lead to anxiety in adulthood.
However, the charity’s chief executive Dr Nigel Carter has made a point of showing how far the dental industry has come since these childhood fears were formed. A lot of the technology that caused discomfort and apprehension is now obsolete and replaced with much better, more relaxing equipment.
For example, the Wand is a great piece of equipment for anyone who is afraid of the dentist because of a needle phobia. It can inject patients without looking or feeling like a needle, putting them at ease. Furthermore, general anesthetics are no longer used, so there is no need to be afraid of the gas.
The practices themselves have also changed to make a dental appointment more pleasant. “Modern dental surgeries are much friendlier environments with flowers in the waiting room, art on the walls, a pleasant reception area and polite staff,” said Dr Carter.
“Many dentists offer techniques such as sedation and relaxation to help their nervous patients. They can offer appointments at a time of day that suits you best. Remember to communicate with your dentist – tell them you are nervous. Agree a sign that means ‘stop’ beforehand. You can even take music or a friend along.”