Children are missing out on dental care due to dental phobia, dental law firm suggests
A dental law firm has suggested that children in the UK are missing out on dental care as a result of dental phobia.
The Dental Law Partnership believes that children are missing dental appointments as a result of anxiety and fear. The most recent NHS statistics revealed that only 58.7% of children in England attended a dental appointment in the last year, despite the fact that dentists recommend 6-monthly check-ups for children.
Chris Dean, managing director of the Dental Law Partnership, believes that low attendance rates are due to children being scared of the dentist. There is also a risk that parents are passing dental anxiety onto their children through their own reactions and behaviour. Mr Dean said that it was worrying that such a high proportion of children were going without dental appointments and suggested that improving techniques to combat fear may prove beneficial.
Dental anxiety is one of the most common fears, and if children are scared of going to the dentist at an early age, this is likely to impact their oral health both during childhood and adulthood. Children may be anxious about going to the dentist because the environment is unfamiliar to them, they might not like the sounds and smells, and they may not feel comfortable interacting with a dentist they’ve never met before. Adults tend to fear the dentist due to negative experiences in the past and a fear of pain. Many dental practices now employ measures to reduce anxiety and stress, and dentists advise parents to bring children to the surgery on a regular basis from the age of 12 months. Early visits enable children to get used to the treatment room and also to build a relationship with their dentist.
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