A dental practice in Ipswich has sent its five-strong team on a dental anxiety course at Ipswich hospital after it experienced an increase in the number of enquiries from people who wanted an NHS dentist with experience of treating anxious patients.
According to the British Dental Association 25 per cent of people suffer some form of anxiety before they visit a dentist and fear is the second most common reason for people putting off a trip to the dentist (2). In its most severe form, dental phobia, which effects 12 per cent of the population, can prevent people from seeking dental treatment even when they are experiencing high levels of discomfort and pain.
mydentist practice manager Heidi Rawnsley said: “We felt it was really important for the whole team to recognise and be able to support patients who are suffering from some form of dental anxiety.
“Our environment helps too. We find many patients are put at east by our jasmine-scented waiting room and grey and teal décor.
“And we’re taking on new NHS patients so would encourage anyone who hasn’t visited the dentist for a while – even if they’re a bit nervous about it - to get in touch. Research shows it’s worth it because visiting the dentist annually reduces the risk of tooth decay by 60 per cent (3).”
Dental Phobia is an extremely distressing condition and is characterised by an individual who avoids dental treatment, regardless of its necessity or whether they are experiencing discomfort and pain.
People suffering with dental phobia can be recognised with by following criteria:
- A persistent fear of the specific object or situation that is excessive or unreasonable
- An immediate anxiety response upon exposure to the feared situation which may take the form of a panic attack
- Recognition that the fear is excessive or unreasonable
- Avoidance of the anxiety-producing situation
- The fear experienced interferes with normal functioning or causes marked distress.
Three dentists and a hygienist offer NHS and private treatments at 15 Meadows Way, Hadleigh from Monday to Friday between 8.30 and 5.00.
To make an appointment patients should call 01473 823999