Phobia and fear of the dentist, causes and factors influencing

Written by: Dr. Joan Bladé Marsal
Edited by: Top Doctors®

It is estimated that 50% of the population may feel some symptom of stress or anxiety during the visit to the dentist. Also that 33% of Spaniards are afraid and up to 12% have a phobia of the dentist , which leads to canceling or delaying the visit to the specialist and the consequent aggravation of the oral problem, something that only increases anxiety and stress , having a direct impact on the patient's self-esteem and its relationship with the environment.

It is important to differentiate between fear of the dentist and anxiety or phobia to the dentist, because the treatment to overcome them is different. The fear always occurs during the treatment and the patient reacts by obstructing it and making the dentist's job more difficult, making it less effective and even preventing it.. Instead, the anxiety or phobia is triggered before treatment , the patient just thinking that he should go and remember something related to the treatment triggers a picture of anxiety , presenting symptoms such as: trembling hands, tachycardia, sudden sweats, difficulty breathing and even stomach pains.

In dentistry or phobia to the dentist the patient has an irrational and much stronger fear that leads to avoid dental care. It is the anteroom of pain. During the dental treatment, the most frequent fears that appear are: the syringe, the puncture, the pain with an instrument or device and the noise of the turbine or lathe.

The main factors that influence what can trigger an anxiety picture at the time of going to the dentist are:

-have had a poor primary school education.

-Don't have visited the dentist since childhood.

-Malos hygienic habits.

-Extended waiting time in the consultation.

-An excessive number of patients in the waiting room.

-To be open-mouthed for a long time.

-The smell of the consultation or in the cabinet.

-A malpractice on the part of the dentist.

- That the dentist fall behind in the treatment.

-Sessions of long-term treatment.

-The vision of the needle.

-The feeling of the injection.

-The noise of the turbine.


All these fears are stimuli that can cause a threat or a danger and can cause an interference in the monitoring of the treatment until the patient avoids going to the dentist, then aggravating the problem and creating a vicious circle with a progressive deterioration of your oral health. In short, what at first was only a fear can turn into a phobia or panic to the dentist.

The most frequent cause of " panic to the dentist " is having had traumatic dental experiences (especially in childhood and adolescence) and as a second cause is adduced to a lack of "psychology of the professional". The same perception of pain is very different in each person and what for some is a harmless procedure for others can be very annoying.

We must insist that there is often a lack of understanding both by the professional and their environment and these people are totally impotent, creating psychic problems that can become more important than the oral problem they have, even to pictures important depression .

Therefore, it is very important to make a correct diagnosis and apply the most appropriate treatment in each case to overcome this problem and recover lost confidence.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

By Dr. Joan Bladé Marsal

With over 25 years of experience, this doctor has a qualified academic training and currently also serves as a professor at the University of Barcelona. He is a pioneer in the development of SEDENTIST program with the most advanced techniques in dentistry to treat people with fear and panic to the dentist. It is also the medical director of GrupDrblade.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

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