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Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dentist?

Nov 04, 2013
by Felicia Papier

The dentist can be a scary experience for everyone, especially if you don’t have dental insurance.  While we can help with the insurance part, we can’t help with the differences between men and women.  A new study reveals an even wider gap between the genders in the dental world.

Results from the Adult Dental Health Survey showed that almost half of adults are uneasy in the dentist’s chair.  This works to the advantage of some dentists, but not in the way you may think!  It lets dentists reassure patients that are moderately to extremely scared to know that they are not alone.  (You thought I was going to say they go all Steve Martin on them, didn’t you!) 

In the study, both male and female dental patients were shown photos of dental treatments.  They discovered that female patients who said they were scared of the dentist were six times more likely to be disgusted with the images compared to women who were not scared.  The non-phobic women had no qualms about the images.  While both men and women fared equally when asked about their feelings towards their dentist, the imagery and thought of having that specific procedure done bothered the women more.

Karen Coats, a dental advisor at the British Dental Health Foundation, says there are many ways that a dentist can work with patients to overcome their fears.  In fact, there are dentists who specialize in working with phobic patients! (Please make sure that these dentists get their fair share of time AWAY from the office.)  She advises booking appointments during a time of day when the patient feels their best and when there are no other “to do’s” on their list for the day. 

"Agree with your dentist a sign that means 'stop I need a break' before the treatment is started. Usually you can just raise your hand, and the treatment can be stopped for a few minutes until you are ready to start again. Once you know that you can control the situation you will feel more confident. Some people find that listening to music whilst they are having treatment can help. If you are still nervous there are other techniques your dentist can use to help you, such as relaxation and sedation so ask the team about these,” Coats said.

Unfortunately, people who are frightened by the mere thought of going to the dentist are more likely to have poor dental health.  If you are one of the many people out there that hesitates about going to the dentist, don’t!  Remember, Ben Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  When you take care of your oral health from the beginning with proper brushing and flossing techniques and regular dental visits, there is less pain, aggravation and money spent later!

Source: Medical News Today; Photo source: Annablogia

Copyright 2013, Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC ©

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