18 Aug

New study reveals almost half of adults experienced dental fear during the pandemic

A new study has revealed that almost half of adults experienced dental fear during the pandemic, with levels significantly higher among females.

Researchers assessed groups of males and females in quarantine using the Dental Fear Survey (DFS) and the Modified Dental Anxiety Scale (MDAS). They found that 45.7% of adults experienced dental fear, with females more likely to display symptoms than males. Of those surveyed, 36.8% said they would see a dentist if they needed emergency treatment during the pandemic. The most common reasons included dental pain, tooth fractures and facial swelling.

Researchers discovered that females were more likely to experience dental fear than males and those who were anxious about seeing a dentist were most worried about pain. People who had not seen a dentist for a long time were also more likely to feel nervous about going to an appointment. 

The survey also showed that people were most likely to ask friends and family or consult social media for information about dental issues or emergencies during the pandemic. People who experienced symptoms like toothache, swelling and chipped teeth were more likely to go on social apps or ask friends or relatives for advice than contact their dentist. Less than 40% of adults surveyed said that they would see a dentist if they had a dental emergency during the crisis. 

Dental fear is very common but there are different levels. It is estimated that up to 10% of the adult population experiences severe anxiety or dental phobia. Dentists encourage patients who do have severe anxiety to attend regular appointments and speak to the team at their local practice to make them aware of the situation. Modern day dentistry offers an array of solutions and therapies designed to ease anxiety, prevent discomfort and make patients feel calm and relaxed.