The People So Terrified of Dentists That They Haven’t Been for Decades

Say the word “dentist” to Hazel Phillips and she might actually faint. She can’t see a dental procedure on TV without her heart pounding and her palms going clammy.

Hazel even feels nervous watching adverts for toothpaste and avoids looking in the mirror when brushing her teeth. The 38-year-old admin assistant from Totton, Hampshire, is one of a growing number of people in the UK with a severe dental phobia, or odontophobia.

Up to half the population is said to have it to some degree. The Adult Dental Health Survey found that 36 per cent of UK adults were moderately “dentally anxious” and 12 per cent were extremely so, meaning they would avoid it at all costs, or require sedation for routine procedures.

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