Motivate your patients to regular dental care by treating dental anxiety

Dental anxiety is a common problem worldwide. Every tenth adult suffers from high dental anxiety and up to every third patients is at least somewhat anxious of visiting a dentist. Professor Satu Lahti has been researching and treating patients with dental fear for over 20 years in her private practice, in university hospital clinics and in special dental anxiety clinics. In this post, Lahti discusses dental anxiety and its treatment.

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Dental anxiety is a common problem worldwide. Every tenth adult suffers from high dental anxiety which for dentist can show as irrational. Etiology of dental anxiety is multidimensional and thus, dentists need to understand the origins of individual patient’s anxiety. If dental anxiety is not treated, it can lead to avoidance, deteriorating oral health which in turn causes feelings of shame and further avoidance. This is called the vicious cycle of dental anxiety.

“Delaying and avoiding the visit to the dentist or missing dental appointments are common causes of dental anxiety. Treating dentally anxious patients is also among major stressors for the dentists,” says Satu Lahti, Professor and Dental Specialist in Public Health at the Institute of Dentistry, University of Turku.

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Lahti has been researching and treating patients with dental fear for over 20 years in her private practice, in university hospital clinics and in special dental anxiety clinics. She has participated in and supervised numerous scientific articles in renowned academic publications.

A longitudinal study of the relationship between dental fear and dental visits in Finnish adults showed that adults, whose dental fear increased between 2000 and 2011, were up to five times more likely to become irregular dental attendees, visiting only when in pain.

On the other hand, those whose dental anxiety was reduced during these years were six times more likely to become regular attendees. “There are easy methods to help those with dental anxiety and these can be applied in general dental practice” Lahti summarises.

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To treat the dental anxiety, it is important to assess the level patient’s of dental anxiety. There are simple validated scales for this. Already assessing the dental anxiety reduces the patient’s fear, according to multiple studies. The effect is even greater if the dentist attends the form and discusses it with the patient.

Assessment and diagnosis are, like in any dental problem, the basis for treatment. Lack of control is the key element of dental anxiety and thus, providing control for patient is in the focus of treatment. There are several ways dentist can easily enhance it. In addition, number of behavioural techniques are available and applicable for managing patient’s anxiety in general practice.

Interested in learning to understand and manage dental anxiety for the comfort of your patients and yourself? Join our brand new Dental Anxiety course from 19 to 20 March 2020 in Helsinki!

16.1.2020

 

 

Dental Anxiety course

20 March 2020 – Helsinki, Finland
7 CE credits
Price: 3000,00 €

 

     
  NIDE Lecturer Satu Lahti   Satu Lahti
Professor, PhD, Dental Specialist in Public Health, DDS
University of Turku, Finland

 

Satu Lahti
Professor, PhD, Dental Specialist in Public Health, DDS
University of Turku, Finland