Both children and adults may feel anxious or afraid in connection with a dentist’s visit. But anyone who has dental fear can get help and the vast majority can be free from their fear.
Dental care fear in adults
About a quarter of all adults say they feel discomfort and anxiety when they visit the dentist. Among adults who do not go to the dentist regularly, fear is one of the most common reasons why they do not go to the dental office.
The feeling that you are not in control of the situation when you are treated can create dental fear. The sound of the drill, the numbness that changes the feeling and the work that takes place in the mouth with different instruments can be a daunting experience. Fear itself also creates pain sensitivity.
In the dental chair, you have to hand over the responsibility for a part of your own body to the dental staff, while there is rarely enough time to get to know the person who will treat you. It is also difficult to influence what happens by talking.
For some, it is enough to have been on a few treatments that frightened to be scared of dental care.
All treatment of dental fear in adults is that the person who is scared and the dentist together is trying to create new, positive experiences of dental care.
Dental care in children
It is common for children to feel anxious or fearful of a dentist visit. Sometimes the fear is so strong that the child refuses to go to the dentist. But there are also children who have dental care without showing it clearly.
Most children who have dental care show that they are scared by being sad. The child says that it does not want or refuses to agree to treatment. Some children are initially involved in treatment and then refuse when they start to feel more anxious, for example when it is time for anesthesia or to drill a tooth.
Other visible signs of fear may be that the child is tense, sweating, breathing hot and fast. Signs of concern may be that the child is asking or talking much more than they otherwise would.
Treatment of children’s dental care is about creating security. It is important that the child gets in good contact with the dentist and that there is time for questions. It should not hurt to get treatment. It is important to listen to the child to be sure of how it is experiencing the situation.