The University Dental and Implant Centre
The University Dental and Implant Centre
5 Pritchatts Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2QU
Tel: 0121 687 8882 • Fax: 0121 687 8883

Dental Anxiety

How Common is Dental Anxiety?

If you are anxious about dental treatment then you are not alone. Between 6-14% of the population avoid attending the dentist because of anxiety about treatment. Between 45-55% of patients who attended the dentist are anxious in the dental environment.

What Makes People Anxious?

The reasons people fear attending the dentist are varied and include pain, cost of treatment, lack of control while in the dental chair, embarrassment and fear of the unknown. The cause of dental anxiety is usually a previous bad experience, but can be caused indirectly through horror stories about dental treatment from family, friends and even the media.

The fear of treatment may appear to the patient to be irrational, uncontrollable and without obvious cause. Such patients will only attend for treatment when in extreme discomfort or never at all. As a result their dental condition deteriorates to the point where their appearance is affected. This can cause embarrassment and loss of self-confidence which in turn can cause problems socially and at work.

For other patients, the fear is not so deep seated. They can explain the cause of their anxiety and can usually control it to some extent. However, they are still anxious about dental treatment and will try and avoid it where possible.

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What can we do to help at the University Dental Centre?

If you are anxious and wish to have some guidance, please telephone us first on 0121 687 8882 or email us on for further information.

When you make the appointment at the University Dental Centre, please tell our receptionist that you are nervous about treatment. This first appointment will usually be to discuss your fears about treatment and to do an initial examination of your teeth. We will avoid treatment at this visit unless absolutely necessary so that you can get to know us. From this appointment a provisional treatment plan can be made. Depending on what you and the dentist decide, this plan can include methods designed to reduce anxiety.

In our experience we often find many anxious patients need (in addition to gentle care) more time, clear explanations about their dental problems, and a clear understanding about the options available. Here at the University Dental Centre our care of anxious patients focuses on making sure we give enough time to each patient to help deal with their anxieties as we progress through their treatment.

In addition we can offer techniques such as intravenous sedation that can help some patients to overcome dental anxiety. We also use Clinical Psychologists in some cases to help patients overcome their own anxieties so that they can eventually accept dental treatment without anxiety.

There is no one solution for the management of all dental anxiety. Each person will require a slightly different approach. The ultimate aim should be to reduce your anxiety to a level that it is possible to have treatment without any assistance. This is not possible in all cases, but where it can be achieved it is very satisfying for both patient and dentist.

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