Dental Fear Is Real. Providers Can Help.

Published 12/06/2021

Many people feel so anxious about visiting the dentist that it interferes with receiving care — a reality that can have significant health implications.

This visual report from CareQuest Institute, based on results from a 2021 survey of 5,320 adults, explores the impacts of dental fear and how it varies by demographic groups. Key findings include:

  • Hispanic adults were more than two times more likely to report dental fear compared with white adults. Black and Asian adults were also more likely to report dental fear than white adults.
  • 60% of adults who reported experiencing dental fear at their last dental appointment were female.
  • Nearly 3% of adults reported that at their last dental appointment, they were “so frightened and nervous” that it either made the dental treatment difficult or the treatment didn’t succeed.

The report also provides guidance and resources for dental providers to help them address dental fear in patients, highlighting practices such as building trust through good communication and providing clear information about procedures.

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