Dental Phobia

The state of the UK’s teeth has been a running joke for years, but it seems that we are not any closer to dropping the reputation. Recent research reveals that one in seven of us would rather endure a divorce, move house or attend a job interview rather than go to the dentist.

With one third of adults in the UK admitting to not having visited the dentist in more than two years it is inevitable that the state of the nation’s teeth are suffering as a consequence. According to the Dental Health Organisation, 12% of us suffer from extreme dental anxiety. So what exactly is it about the dentist that we fear?

It seems that for men the reluctance stems from fear of being scolded about the state of their teeth, with nearly a quarter of men surveyed (23.3%) saying that this was the main reason for avoiding check-ups. They were equally worried about experiencing further pain and when asked to state any other reasons, 38% were worried about the impact on their wallet. Another factor which contributes towards their reluctance is not having time to take out of their schedules to arrange an appointment at the dentist.

The biggest fear for women is the noise of the drill (35%) followed by the worry of further pain (23.1%), and the third most likely complaint is a phobia of needles (12.8%). A small proportion also find the reclining of the chair a problem (3.8%). The sterile smell and invasion of personal space were also reasons to avoid the dentist.

Age also plays a factor in how much we worry about having to go to the dentist. 45-54 year olds were most likely to fear the dentist above all else (18.7%), closely followed by 55-64 year olds (16.7%). The least worried were the 18-24 year olds with just 8.7% saying the dentist was the most stressful event they could experience.


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