Five million Germans suffer from dental phobia
MUNICH, Germany: In Germany, about five million adults suffer from dental phobia, according to the German Society of Dental Phobia. This number (6 per cent of the population) places the country at the lower end of the industrialised countries of Europe, where an average of 10 per cent of the population suffer from significant dental phobia.
In most cases, people with this condition avoid visiting the dentist—sometimes for decades. “Sufferers should not feel ashamed. The condition affects extreme athletes, ski racers and executives too,” Dr Michael Leu, dentist and President of the German Society of Dental Phobia, recently told German pharmaceutical magazine Apotheken Umschau.
Specially trained dentists offer different methods to those affected, such as hypnosis, nitrous oxide and even treatment under general anaesthesia for major surgery. Once the patient has taken the initial steps, the phobia is likely to disappear. “The patient’s fear returns to a normal level, and most patients are treatable again,” Leu remarked based on his experience.
Between 6 and 14 per cent of the population in industrialised countries suffer from dental phobia. They want to go to the dentist, but their anxiety regarding their physiological, physical and emotional responses prevents them from doing so.
Statistical analysis by the German Society of Dental Phobia found that 71 per cent of people are embarrassed of their teeth, 74 per cent are afraid of losing control, and 50 per cent have felt offended by dentists, their staff or their own family members in the past owing to their teeth.