Ask the Gentle Dentist: How to cope with dental anxiety and phobia

If you are like most, going to the dentist isn’t on your list of favorite things. Studies have shown that about 75 percent of Americans have some degree of dental fear that can range from mild to severe. Another 5 percent to 10 percent of U.S. adults have dental phobia, which is a form of post-traumatic stress disorder that causes those affected to avoid the dentist altogether. People with dental phobia will usually only come to the dentist on an emergency basis when there is a toothache or some other type of pain.

Past experience is the No. 1 reason for dental fear, although there is a biologic component to this as well. A common statistic in psychology is that it takes five positive experiences to outweigh one negative experience. With this in mind, the goal in modern day dentistry is to break this cycle of fear by reinforcing positive experiences. And that’s what we try to do here at Central Baldwin Dental Center: to make every visit a great one!


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