Fear of the dentist is real, and pretty common – almost half of UK adults have odontophobia. Most of the time, having dental treatment isn’t painful, but even just being examined can cause panic for some. Why do people have this phobia, and what can they do to overcome it?
Fears don’t need to be rational. Most spiders – in the UK, at least – can’t harm you, clowns don’t actually tend to cause that much mischief, and we all know that aeroplanes are a safer mode of transport than cars. Yet many people are still very much afraid of simple triggers that they can encounter in everyday life.
According to the Oral Health Foundation, visits to the dentist top this list of fears. Despite being in pain, or not having had a check-up in years, some people will still steer clear of dental treatment rather than be seen.
What are common fears of dental treatment?
There are a few reasons why people might be put off visiting the dentist. We hear accounts such as…
- “I had a bad experience at the dentist when I was young.”
- “I can’t stand the noise of the drill.”
- “My mum was scared of the dentist.”
- “I’m anxious because I think it will hurt.”
- “I can’t bear the thought of the needles.”
- “I don’t want to be lectured.”
Some can’t articulate their fear – it’s more of a sense of dread when they think about the dentist’s chair, but they feel it all the same.
Most dental anxiety comes from bad past experiences, sometimes not their own – it might come from TV or film. Even if that is the case, rational or not, it can’t be dismissed. One NHS survey showed that extreme dental anxiety was estimated to be experienced by over 10% of adults.
However, advances in dental treatment can mean that past experiences can stay right there in the past. New technologies emerge all the time that make dental treatments less painful, less invasive, or simply less noisy, and we pioneer them here at The Courtyard.
How we allay fears at The Courtyard
We understand dental anxiety, and treat all of our patients sympathetically here at The Courtyard. There are several ways that we help people with dental phobia come to terms with their fear.
1) We’re kind.
It sounds so simple, but being kind and gentle with our patients counts for so much, especially when it comes to nervous patients. We make the time to talk to our patients and make sure we listen. Every one of our team will help you feel relaxed and at ease. This is true for all of our patients, not only those with dental anxiety!
2) We book your appointment with care.
We recommend early appointments, so you’ll have less time to think about it. We’ll organise a check-up or consultation with you first, so you can get to know the staff and the practice, before moving onto treatment.
3) We won’t lecture you.
We think you’re pretty brave for facing your fear. We’ll offer you treatment advice, but you won’t hear us harping on about “coulda woulda shoulda”. We’ll look forward, to making you healthy and happy.
4) We won’t put you through any treatment that you don’t understand fully.
We take the time to explain any dental treatment you need, and work with you to ensure you’re comfortable with it before we proceed.
On top of this, we’ve won an award for being the Most Innovative Practice in the Private Dentistry Awards, so we’re modern in our approach and use technology to make dentistry at The Courtyard a more pleasant experience.
Don’t take it from us…
One of our happy patients, Matt Longden, had a fear of dental treatment when he first visited us. He said: “I was initially recommended to the practice by another patient who was having implant treatment.
“When Marcos first discussed the possibility of me having dental implants my initial thought was it was going to be painful and expensive. I felt no discomfort while having the implants placed, and Marcos and his team were wonderful and put me at ease.”
If you’re ready to face your fear, we’ll take it slow. If you give us a heads up when you book your appointment, we can make sure we handle you with extra TLC when you come in. Call us on 01484 432 855 to arrange your free consultation.