Approximately 5 to 10 percent of U.S. adults experience dental phobia, meaning they are so fearful of receiving dental treatment that they avoid dental care at all costs. Many dentally fearful people will only seek dental care when they have a dental emergency, such as a toothache or dental abscess. People who are very fearful of dental care often experience a “cycle of avoidance,” in which they avoid dental care due to fear until they experience a dental emergency requiring invasive treatment, which can reinforce their fear of dentistry.
Solutions: Quite often, a relaxing atmosphere in a dental office can greatly help patients overcome their dental fear. Massage therapy while receiving dental treatment has proven to decrease the discomfort by helping the human body to release endorphins. More severe cases may require some type of sedation to make treatment more comfortable.