The difference between Anxiety, Fear and Phobia
- Dental Anxiety is a reaction to an unknown danger. Anxiety is extremely common, and most people experience some degree of dental anxiety especially if they’re about to have something done which they’ve never experienced before. Basically, it’s a fear of the unknown.
- Dental Fear is a reaction to a known danger (“I know what the dentist is going to do, been there, done that – I’m scared!!”), which involves a fight-or-flight response when confronted with the threatening stimulus.
- Dental Phobia is basically the same as fear, only much stronger (“I know what happens when I go to the dentist – there’s no way I’m going back if I can help it. I’m so terrified I feel sick”). The fight-or-flight response occurs when just thinking about or being reminded of the threatening situation.
Someone with a dental phobia will avoid dental care at all costs until either a physical problem or the psychological burden of the phobia becomes overwhelming.
Who is affected by Dental Phobia?
You may have come across news stories which imply that dental phobia is more common among women.
For example, the 2009 Adult Dental Health Survey in the U.K. reported that women are twice as likely as men to experience extreme dental anxiety. But… all this means is that women are more likely to admit to their fears!
Anyone can be affected by dental phobia! It doesn’t matter if you are young or old, a man or a woman, rich or poor.
In reality, it is likely that there is no significant difference between men and women when it comes to dental anxiety.
Help For Dental Anxiety and Dental Phobia Patients
Fear of dentistry is probably more common that you may have realised. The British Dental Association stated a few years ago that ‘one adult in three has moderate to severe fear of dental procedures’.
Our approach is to always focus on the positives and look forward to what can be done to improve your dental situation.
We have a huge amount of respect for every single person who visits the practice to discuss how their fears can be overcome. We understand that trust must be earned.
All of us here at Maycroft Dental Practice look forward to working hard to prove to you that we are worthy of your trust.