The Dentist Magazine.

Divorce Vs dentist

Published: 29/10/2014

One in seven Brits would rather endure a divorce than take a trip to the dentist.

Men avoid the dentist for fear of being scolded about their dental health and worry about the cost.

Those in the East of England, East Midlands and North East four times as likely to find the dentist stressful than Londoners.

London: The state of the nation’s teeth has been a running joke for decades, but it seems we’re no closer to the perfect smile as data released by Toothpick, reveals that one in seven of us would rather endure a divorce, move house or attend a job interview than endure half an hour in the dentist’s chair.

With one third of Brits admitting to not having visited the dentist in more than two years it is inevitable that the state of the nation’s teeth is suffering. This combined with, in some cases, the need for extensive treatment when we do manage to get there, it is little wonder we avoid the dentist’s chair. According to the Dental Health Organisation 12 per cent of us suffer from extreme dental anxiety so what exactly is it about the dentist that we fear?

It seems that for men the reluctance stems from fear of being scolded about the state of their teeth, with nearly a quarter of men surveyed (23.3 per cent) citing this as the main reason for avoiding checkups. They were equally worried about experiencing further pain and when asked to state any other reasons 38 per cent were worried about the impact on their wallet.

The biggest fear for women is the noise of the drill (35 per cent) followed by the worry of further pain (23.1 per cent) and the third most likely complaint is a phobia of needles(12.8 per cent). A small proportion also find the reclining of the chair a problem (3.8 per cent). The sterile smell and invasion of personal space were also cited as reasons to avoid the dentist.

Age also plays a factor in how much we worry about a trip to the dentist. 45-54 year olds were most likely to fear the dentist above all else (18.7 per cent), closely followed by 55-64 year olds (16.7 per cent). The least worried were the 18-24 year olds with just 8.7 per cent saying the dentist was the most stressful event they could experience.

The results also highlighted some regional differences in attitudes towards the dentist. Londoners and the Welsh were the least likely to fear the dentist with just 5.9 per cent of those surveyed in both regions classing it as the most stressful event. However those based in the North East, East of England and East Midlands were the most likely to fear the dentist’s chair with one in five people describing the dentist as their biggest fear.

REGIONAL TABLE: The percentage per region of those surveyed by Toothpick who selected a trip to the dentist as the most stressful life event.

East of England 21.1

East Midlands 20.8

North East 19

Northern Ireland 14.3

North West 13.9

Scotland 13.4

South East 8.1

South West 7.1

Wales 5.9

London 5.9

“When we don’t visit the dentist, we are more likely to experience more dental decay or other problems with our teeth compared to when we have regular check-ups. This of course leads to dental pain and reinforces a fear of the dentist when we do go and have to have more intensive treatment.”

“While many of us may never learn to relish the thought of a trip to the dentist, certain things could be done to help. For instance clarity on the cost breakdowns for those who worry about money, better systems to enable nervous patients to select a dentist specialising in treating those with dental phobias and generally more choice and control over who we see, could go some way to making us less fearful.”