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Dental Phobia – Is It a Learned Behavior?

According to a recent survey commissioned by Delta Dental Plans, parents may be inadvertently teaching their children to be afraid of the dentist. The study was released in conjunction with National Anxiety Month in April. About half of participating parents admitted to having fear of dentist issues, and the same number of children aged 12 and under also experienced dental fear. Because children can easily absorb the negative thoughts and reactions of tense, anxious parents, it’s important for moms and dads to stay calm and focused during dental exams, and present the concept of dental care in a positive light.

Why Kids Have Fear of Dentist Appointments

Dental check-ups are essential for maintaining good oral health, but at least 40 percent of children have some degree of dental phobia that makes their dentist visits scary. Parents who participated in the Delta Dental study claimed that fear of pain was the most common cause of their kids’ anxiety. Not liking the dentist and needing additional dental work were among the lesser fears. To help allay dental fears, parents should start exposing their kids to dental care early, so they can build relationships with their dentists. A baby’s first dental appointment should be made no later than his or her first birthday. Informing the dentist of a child’s anxiety before the visit and playing dentist at home can also help lessen stress.

Dental Phobia in Adults



When parents take charge of their own dental fear, they reduce the chances of spreading it to their kids. Talking to the dentist about dental fear or seeking a dentist who specializes in treating anxious patients can be helpful. Other ways to reduce dental fear include making early morning appointments, taking a friend to dental visits, and listening to music or podcasts during treatment. For severe cases of adult dental phobia, sedation dentistry or cognitive behavioral therapy may be required.

To learn about our family dentistry practice in Peoria, call Maple Shade Dental Group today or make an appointment.


Maple Shade Dental Group offers affordable family dentistry and gentle, compassionate dental care in Peoria. With 3 affiliated practices throughout Peoria, our offices are conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At Maple Shade Dental Group, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures and complete dental reconstruction. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover an affordable dentist who truly cares at Maple Shade Dental Group.

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