In the United States it is estimated that somewhere between 6% and 14% of the population voluntarily avoid seeking dental care because of their fear of dentistry. These individuals will put off treatment until they are in such pain that home remedies are no longer effective. They are categorized as severe anxiety patients and reprsent a dual problem in management, for the dentist will have to treat both the patients’ acute dental problem and their psychological emergency. I once attended a dental seminar entitled “The Pain of Fear.” This title aptly describes the dilemma faced by the acutely fearful dental patient: fear of pain keeps the patient from seeking needed dental care until the pain, which is exacerbated by this fear, ultimately forces the patient to the dental office. Such pattients present the dentist with a significant problem. Attempts to treat these patients without acknowledging their fear usually lead to great frustration and increased stress for the dentist as well as an increased level of fear for the patient. When surveyed, 57% of a group of dentists reported that the most stressful factor in their dental practices was the difficult patient.
Paul L. Caputo, DDS3490 E Lake Rd S Suite A