Posted in Dental, Health

Dental Phobia

On my mission to create more dental awareness and encourage people to take preventive steps towards their Oral Health care, I discovered that one of the major reasons a lot of people might not visit their Dentists, asides from negligence, poor awareness and cost of Dental treatment is FEAR. Dental fear! People are afraid of what the Dentist does.

Dental fear, also known as Dental phobia or Odontophobia is when individuals are afraid of receiving dental care. Now there’s dental anxiety which quite a number of people experience at the mere thought of visiting a Dentist, and there is Dental phobia which is unreasonable fear at the thought of receiving dental care.

Research done in the UK by the British Dental Association shows that one in four people experience anxiety at the thought of visiting a Dentist. Further research from the journal of American Dental Association shows that 75% of Americans experience a certain level of Dental fear.

The causes of Dental phobia can be from direct or indirect experiences.

A direct experience is whereby the individual develops this fear after a personal experience at the Dentist. The experience might have been a painful or traumatic one or It could also be from the how the patient perceives the attitude and mannerisms of the Dentist. If the Dentist was perceived as cold, uncaring or lacking confidence this can create fear in the patient.

Whereas an indirect experience is one where there has been no personal experience with a Dentist but the individual has heard stories from people who have visited the Dentist and developed dental fear from this.

What people with Dental fear don’t realize is that their avoidance of Dental care would lead to poor oral health which can cause dental emergencies that require would now invasive treatment which would further stress the patient and cause them to be more fearful.

I should also mention that how Dentistry is potrayed in movies can also instill Dental fear in people. I remember an episode of a very popular TV series, Scandal (The Fixer), where Huck used Tooth extraction as a form of torture to get a confession from Quinn his colleague, without any form of anaesthesia. It was cruel, brutal and scary. This is a scene commonly seen in movies, depicting tooth extraction as a form of torture. Losing a part of one’s body isn’t the most pleasant experience, but the psychological trauma of losing a tooth cannot be compared to a limb amputation for example. And there’s so much more your Dentist has to offer beyond tooth extraction, one of which is, how not to lose your tooth!

This simply emphasizes what we all know, prevention is better than cure. Visit your Dentist when you don’t have to so you won’t need to.

Tooth extraction: means Tooth removal



Kleinknecht RA, Thorndike RM, McGlynn FD, Harkavy J (January 1984). “Factor analysis of the dental fear survey with cross-validation”. J Am Dent Assoc108 (1): 59–61. PMID 6582116



Hello, my name is Laju, I am a mom, wife and a learner , learner because I'm always learning and more eager to share what I have learnt. Here I share about my lessons and discoveries about motherhood, passions and life as a Nigerian living in diaspora.

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