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Women with dental phobia struggle to hide their fears

Posted by Rachel Lucas

New research has found that women who have a fear of visiting the dentist are less likely to be able to hide it than their male counterparts.

Data collected by the Adult Dental Health Survey has found that of the estimated 30 million people in the UK who visit a dental practice, almost half admitted they were moderately to extremely afraid.

The study also found that an equal number of men and women felt this way.

However, when it came to being shocked by what they might see in the surgery, dental-phobic women were six times more likely to be disgusted with what they saw than females who were not afraid.

This finding was made after researchers studied the facial expressions of men and women who had the fear while they were being treated, before comparing them with those who did not have any problem when sat in the chair.

It is hoped that by revealing that around 15 million patients are in fact scared of their dentist, those who do suffer from anxiety when preparing to visit a practice can find relief in knowing that they are not alone in feeling this way.

Dental marketing within waiting rooms can easily be used to get this message across, which could in turn result in appointments going much more smoothly, both for the dentist and the patient.

The British Dental Health Foundation’s dental advisor Karen Coates said: “The good news is that more and more dentists now understand their patients’ fears and – with a combination of kindness and gentleness – can do a great deal to make dental treatment an acceptable, normal part of life.”

She also added that patients should make their dentist aware of their feelings, in order for the dentist to understand and help them through the experience.

Other advice includes arranging certain hand signals – so the dental professional knows when the patient would like the treatment to be temporarily halted in order for them to take a break.

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