Even before entering the practice or seeing the dental chair, it happens: your muscles tighten, your pulse and blood pressure rise, you begin to sweat, and your hands shake. Sound familiar? If so, then you, like many people across the globe have experienced dental anxiety. In fact, research demonstrates that dental anxiety or phobia affects between 13-24% of people all over the world. For some, dental fear is so extreme that it prevents them from receiving proper oral health care.
At Penn Dental Medicine, we take dental anxiety seriously. We believe that no one should feel ashamed to express their concerns about getting dental treatment. To help better understand and accommodate different kinds of dental anxiety, PDM continues to conduct specific studies. For example, we are currently monitoring a study involving patients avoiding the dentist—whether out of dental anxiety or fear surrounding COVID-19—or both.
Learn more about our commitment to prioritizing your safety and comfort by exploring the triggers and solutions surrounding dental anxiety.
What we know to be true about dental phobias and anxiety is that they are real—and common. One study cites dental anxiety as the fifth most prevalent type of anxiety. But, what is it that causes a person to be fearful? While the answer varies depending on a number of factors, many people fear similar things when it comes to dental visits.
Common triggers for people who experience dental anxiety include:
Of course now, whether one has dental anxiety or not, it’s common for people to feel worried about going to the dentist during COVID-19.
That is why Penn Dental Medicine is currently conducting a study on why people avoid going to the dentist, especially during the pandemic. Penn’s ongoing research allows us to better understand how to help patients with a fear of going to the dentist.
While we continue to investigate how to help patients with dental anxiety, there is a great deal we already know when it comes to coping mechanisms. There are several things that can be done on part of the dentist and patient, to reduce and even eliminate dental anxiety.
Take a look at multiple techniques to help cope with fears surrounding the dentist:
Because PDM is a teaching clinic affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania, it means that all dental students are supervised by faculty members who are leaders in their field. It also provides patients the benefit of knowing they are receiving dental care founded upon heavily researched approaches—such as helping ease dental anxiety.
Even now, amidst continuing rising COVID-19 numbers across the nation, studies have shown that visiting the dentist is not only safe, but recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA) as an essential health service.
To further help ease dental anxiety, we offer patients a free download outlining the comprehensive services provided through Penn Dental Medicine. Take advantage of this offer and become familiar with how to prepare yourself for your next dental visit.
If and when you’d like to join us for a dental visit, click here to make your appointment.