Is Social Media to Blame for Odontophobia?
Posted by AESTHETIC DENTISTRY on Aug 31 2021, 03:42 PM
Meta: With so many people suffering from fear of the dentist, researchers are looking for the root cause and it could be social media.
It’s called “odontophobia,” or the fear of the dentist, and it’s more common than you might think. In fact, it is estimated that upwards of 70 percent of all adults in the United States have some degree of fear of the dentist! While in some cases that fear is mild, in other cases it can be dangerous, keeping the sufferer from seeing the dentist for years, and making any oral health problems they may have much, much worse in the meantime.
But in order to combat odontophobia, researchers want to know why patients are so afraid of seeing the dentist, and that was the subject of a new study, the Dental Fear Survey.
What the study found was pretty interesting. First, female patients were more likely than their male counterparts to have odontophobia, and only one out of every three patients with odontophobia said they would actually go to the dentist if they experienced dental pain during the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, that pain would have to be pretty severe, or a tooth would have to be broken or facial swelling would have to be present for them to actually choose to be seen.
Other interesting facts uncovered by the study? Most respondents got their dental pain information from social media, friends, and family during the pandemic, instead of going to a dental professional first. This is particularly troubling because, with so much misinformation on social media, patients could be given bad or dangerous advice about their oral health issues.
The study concluded that more needs to be done to help allay the fears of the dentist in these patients. Researchers believe this can be done by finding the root cause of that fear and treating it accordingly. Perhaps the patient had a bad experience at the dentist before or is afraid of the possibility of pain during their cleaning or procedure. Regardless of the reasoning, researchers believe by addressing the reason and coming up with a solution will help relax those with odontophobia and enable them to treat their oral health problems.
If you suffer from odontophobia, don’t be afraid to speak to Dr. Abelar about it. Hopefully, we can get to the root of the problem so you can relax during your treatment and protect that beautiful smile!