Dental anxiety has consequences beyond tooth decay

May 3, 2017

(HealthDay)—Does the mere thought of a dentist's drill make you cringe in fear? Be forewarned: Dental phobia can damage more than your teeth, a new British report indicates.

"This can have a major impact on a person's quality of life, including on their physiological, psychological, social and ," said study author Dr. Ellie Heidari. She's a senior specialist clinical teacher at King's College London Dental Institute.

She and her colleague, Tim Newton, analyzed responses from nearly 11,000 participants in the 2009 Adult Dental Health Survey. About 1,400 participants admitted having an overriding fear of dentists.

Predictably, the study found that the fearful patients were more likely to have at least one missing or decaying tooth. Surprisingly, dental phobia was also broadly linked to a poorer quality of life.

While oral diseases aren't usually life-threatening, the study noted that they can affect people's ability to eat, drink, speak and socialize, and therefore, the overall of life.

One way to ease patients' anxiety is to offer a detailed plan for preventive care that they can do at home, said Newton, a professor of psychology.

"Ideally," he said, "we would want to help them overcome their and attend the dentist, but in the interim perhaps we could be helping them to take good care of their teeth themselves."

The study was published online recently in the British Dental Journal.

Explore further: Phobia of dentists leads to more decay and tooth loss, new study finds

More information: There's more on dental phobia at the American Dental Association.

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VOR_
not rated yet May 31, 2017
how about the justified fear that dentist usually BOTH want to 'help' by treating what really must be treated immediately, and, want to 'not help' by 'advising' that more aggressive treatment is needed that really has poor risk to reward...ends in the premature demise of teeth through the trama, and 'errosion' of 'unecessary' procedures to 'unecessary' degrees. Yes this happens often and typically. Dentist don't get paid to keep you teeth healthy. they get paid to do things to your teeth, things that are SOMETIMES quite counterproductive to the point of preserving tooth health. The is not imagination, or wild speculation, it is quite obvious.

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