According to research carried out by the Adult Dental Health Survey, women who are afraid of the dentist are six times more likely to be ‘disgusted’ by images of dental treatment than their male counterparts and women who do not have a phobia of the dentist. The data also revealed that almost half of adults were moderately to extremely afraid of going to the dentist, and Karen Coates, Dental Advisor at the British Dental Health Foundation, was anxious to ensure that the research is used to help dental phobics overcome their fears.
Karen 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 many dentists are specially trained to treat nervous patients and the team should provide more time to make these individuals feel more comfortable. Karen advised anxious patients to ‘book appointments at a time of day when you feel at your best and when you do not have any other commitments to worry about. Allow plenty of time so that you can get to the practice in a relaxed frame of mind.’
Although women may feel more disgusted by the thought of dental treatment, it is important that any symptoms are caught as early on as possible, Ms Coates commented that patients who have dental phobia would probably have poorer oral health in most cases, and added that ‘Catching any problems whilst they are still small will mean that the treatment involved is much less and lighter on your pocket too. Truly a case that prevention is better than a cure.’