A fear of dentists is called dentophobia, and it is a real enough thing. It is also very common, affecting around 75 per cent of adults to some degree or another. That means anyone who suffers from it is in very good company.
Fears can be triggered in many ways, from negative portrayals of dentists in popular culture to real live negative memories of unpleasant dental appointments, perhaps in childhood. Other contributory factors can be trypanophobia, a fear of needles that is severe for around ten per cent of people.
The consequences of this can be serious. No doubt right now there are people needing root canal surgery in Surrey who are trying to grimace through the pain rather than having the problem dealt with. Others may be dealing with abscesses or even undiagnosed oral cancer.
This is one of the reasons we offer a very gentle and sympathetic approach to treatment, in the full knowledge that many patients will be nervous, and those who have had rough treatment or a lack of acknowledgement of their struggles in the past will particularly benefit from this.
Of course, it can be a very smart move to get some therapy to help deal with phobias, especially those that can lead to unhealthy decisions such as avoiding necessary treatment. But we know that practitioners can also do play their part in taking the fear out of a dental appointment.