Does a trip to the dentist make your teeth chatter in fear? Fifty-three per cent of people have ‘dentophabia’ and would rather experience public humiliation! We investigate why people delay their trips to the dentist and offer some tips to help you to get back in the chair!
According to new research by Oral-B*, most Aussies are suffering from ‘Dentophobia’, with almost four in five (78%) delaying a trip to the dentist.
Symptoms of ‘Dentophobia’ include sufferers lying about the length of time since their last check up and conjuring up feeble excuses in a bid to delay a dental visit.
According to the Oral-B research, Dentophobia has reached pandemic proportions with an alarming eight in ten (83%) admitting they are anxious about visiting the dentist.
For many, the anxiety experienced by just the thought of a dental visit is on par with other extreme fears, including bungee jumping or sky diving (according to 30% of respondents), sitting an exam (30%) or public speaking (39%). For the lucky ones who beat their nerves to successfully make it into the dentist’s chair, almost as many find the sound of the drill just as nerve-wracking as the moment the drill hits a nerve.
According to Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Cindy Nour, it’s taking those first steps to make the initial appointment that can leave sufferers the most anxious.
“The research from Oral-B shows that ‘Dentophobia’ is a very real issue which is impacting on Australia’s oral health. As many as five million Australians are waiting until they have a specific problem before they make that appointment with their dentist. Cost is another deterrent cited for delaying check-ups, which is contributing to Aussie dental anxiety.”
However, the research shows that women spend more money on massages, facials and other hair / beauty treatments than they spend on their dental health. In the past year alone, women aged 18-24 spent more than double on beauty treatments than they spent at the dentist.
To get to the root of the nation’s dental dilemmas, Oral-B’s Rob the Dentist will help Aussies take the plunge into the dentist’s chair via his Facebook page. In the same vein as a ‘fear of flying school’, the site will provide Aussies with a gentle dose of dentistry in their everyday lives, sharing tips and offering advice on how to overcome Dentophobia.
Here are RESCU’s Top Tips to Getting Over Dentophobia:
1. Choose the Right Dentist
There’s nothing scarier at the dentist then the inflictors of pain, the dentists themselves. Make sure you go to a dentist you feel comfortable with, who understands your fears and makes you feel comfortable. Someone who you aren’t afraid to ask questions.
2. Distract Yourself
To keep your mind of those excruciating drilling sounds, ask if you can bring along your ipod, if not, compile your daily to-do list in your head, take your favourite photo in – or recite your times tables in your head! All of which should keep your mind of the situation at hand.
In any frightful situation it’s important to concentrate on your breathing. Steady, even breathing should make you more relaxed and slow your racing heart.
4. Say Something
If the pain goes over your threshold, don’t be afraid to let the dentist know. If not your fear will only worsen and your next trip will be even more delayed!
*The study was conducted online by Galaxy Research on behalf of Oral-B, among a representative sample of 1,004 adults aged 18-64 years. Fieldwork was completed on 30 January, 2012