Anxiety and going to the dentist

Dental research has customarily focused on another anxiety – the fear of the needle and the drill. We know, for example from the 2009 Adult Dental Health Survey in the UK, that 1 in 3 adults sitting in the waiting room are anxious about dental procedures.

But surely, in the context of The Atlantic’s survey, dentistry must also cope with another anxiety – the overarching fear that dental care is simply not an affordable service any more.

We sense this anxiety in surveys of patients sitting in the waiting room of Ontario dental practices. When asked about which dental services are most of interest, respondents report that maintenance or health-related services are remarkably more interesting than conventional (and expensive) procedures such as implants, veneers and orthodontics (Chart 2).

And notably, these respondents in Chart 2, are those who can afford dental care – what about all the others who no longer feel they can?

Chart 2

I may be interested in a brochure about this new service, Small town, 2013Source: CHX Technologies, Spring 2013

This blog continues to bring forward information about a profoundly changed mind set for purchasing all kinds of services, including dental care. The recessions and weak economy since 2008 have altered what consumers can afford and want to pay for, just at the time that social media and the internet give them more choice and awareness than ever before.  General anxiety in the middle class is not ignored by a successful dental practice. Indeed, the successful dental practice harnesses this anxiety by offering more preventive care.

Source: Ross Perry
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