Study on dental fear
More than 60 percent of Germans admit to having a queasy feeling immediately before or during a visit to a dentist. Up to 20 percent are considered highly anxious, about 5% of the population completely shuns the visit to the dentist. These patients suffer from the WHO (World Health Organization) ICD criteria with a phobia that “dental phobia “or dental treatment anxiety. In Germany, about 5 million people are affected. In our in-house study on dental anxiety, we’ve gained more interesting insights that have helped us to further improve our treatments for anxiety patients.
Dental Fear – A study on dental fear with data from over 300 phobia self-tests by dentist anxiety patients
In the following study on dental anxiety, we analyzed 300 anxiety patients who have completed a dental phobia self-test on the website sensitive-dentists.de of our company Sensitive Dentists® and have been treated by us. To determine the intensity of dental fear, we asked for the HAF criteria (Hierarchical Anxiety Questionnaire).
With 196 out of a total of 300 (65%) completed phobia self-tests we were able to see that predominantly the female gender with the topic of dental fear on our website and was interested in a dental treatment under anesthesia. The mean age was 35 years for all patients studied. Fear of dental treatment does not seem to be a matter of age. So the youngest patient was only 17 years old, the oldest 66 years.
The patients said that on average they had visited four different dentists in their lifetime. The last visit to the dentist for all 300 patients included was 8.1 years on average (range: 1-15 years). Of the 300 patients analyzed (90%), 272 were dissatisfied with the appearance of their teeth and found their teeth unesthetic. Only 28 patients (10%) were satisfied with their teeth and saw only minor problems.
All of the anxiety patients included in the analysis of our dental fear study admitted they were reluctant to go to the dentist. 52 patients (17%) feel alarmed from the time of the appointment, the rest (83%) spoke in one An average of 14 days before the visit to the dentist of a psychological burden. Most of them (84%) admitted that they had canceled an appointment shortly before (on the day of treatment).
In addition, patients were asked about the feeling they feel when visiting a dentist. Differences were in “normal” (1), tense (2), “anxious” (3) and “sick with fear” (4). Upon entering the dental office, 1% of patients felt “normal”, 21% were “tense”, 27% “anxious” and 51% of patients admitted to feeling “sick with anxiety”. In the waiting room, 19% of patients felt “tense”, 24% “anxious” and 57% “sick with anxiety”. None of the patients claimed to feel “normal.” The feeling of sitting on a dental chair while the dentist picks up the drill described 4% of the patients as “tensed”, 15% as “anxious” and 81% of patients as “sick with anxiety”.
After dental treatment with Sensitive Dentists ®, the patients were interviewed again. Only 56% of patients said they were reluctant to go to the dentist. The feeling of entering a dental office was described by only 8% of patients with “sick with anxiety”. 24% are “anxious”, 39% “tense” and 29% feel “normal”. In the waiting room, 15% of patients still felt “sick with anxiety”, 21% “anxious”, 38% “tense” and 26% “normal”. Even on a dental chair were only 22% of patients “sick with anxiety”, 33% “anxious, 39%” tense “and even 6% had a” normal “feeling.
The most important findings of the study at a glance
- In most cases, they are negative experiences, that cause the dental phobia.
- Dentist anxiety patients are often humiliated or even insulted by dentists and their staff for their anxiety. The disease is not recognized and Symptoms of anxiety are downplayed and ridiculed. This reduces the confidence of fear patients to dentists and increases their feelings of anxiety.
- A rehabilitation of patients in General anesthesia usually resulted in patients losing their phobic responses. Especially anxious patients can take advantage of “not getting any” of the procedure. Modern anesthesia procedures are very safe and treatments can be performed on an outpatient basis. After dental treatment under general anesthesia, no major pain or swelling usually occurs. By eliminating additional local anesthesia, the tissue is not traumatized and therefore postoperative pain and swelling are significantly reduced.
- Alternative methods like Hypnosis often fails due to lack of cooperation of the dental phobia patient – due to his fear.
- Analgosedierung is not suitable for long-lasting dental treatments and extensive restoration work, because of the reduced swallowing reflexes the risk of swallowing parts is increased. By way of explanation: analgesic sedation is the medicinal pain elimination (analgesia) with simultaneous sedation (sedation). Unlike anesthesia, the patient responds to external stimuli and breathes independently.
Dental Fear – our conclusion
The study comes to the realization that the fear of dental treatment is not a rare phenomenon today. Many people have lost the courage to deal with their “dental situation” due to bad experiences, but also due to psychosocial events in their past. Our goal is to help these patients with our concept of Sensitive Dentists, overcome the fear and build trust in a dentist again. This is the basis for a new carefree and bright smile.
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