March 27, 2009

Survey: Most fear the dentist, root canals

Fear of the dentist troubles more than 80 percent of U.S. adults, and more than half say it keeps them from seeing a dentist, a survey indicates.

The American Association of Endodontists survey indicates fear of pain was the top reason adults gave for avoiding the dentist, and root canal treatment was the most feared dental procedure.

Fifty-four percent say they are afraid of getting a root canal, compared to 57 percent who say they are afraid of flying on an airplane during a storm and 42 percent who say they fear public speaking.

One-third of survey respondents admit that their fear of the dentist is based on hearing about someone else's experience rather than on their own. Ironically, the survey also shows most people who have had root canal treatment performed by a specialist report it actually was a positive experience.

There are many misconceptions about dental visits and root canal treatment, in particular, Dr. Louis Rossman, president of the AAE, says in a statement.

Patients need to understand that root canals actually relieve tooth pain and are much more comfortable today thanks to new technology and endodontists' specialized training.