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Getting to the Root of Dental Phobia
Date:3/30/2009

Survey Shows More than Half of Americans Still Avoid the Dental Chair due to Fear

CHICAGO, March 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Fear of the dentist plagues more than 80 percent of American adults, and more than half say fear may keep them from going to see the dentist, according to a new survey by the American Association of Endodontists (AAE). Because poor dental care can lead to serious health problems, the AAE is tackling the issue head on as part of its third annual Root Canal Awareness Week, which takes place March 29 - April 4.

"There are many misconceptions about dental visits and root canal treatment, in particular," said Dr. Louis E. Rossman, AAE president. "Root Canal Awareness Week is aimed at dispelling these long-standing myths and hopefully reducing anxiety around the procedure. 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."

Fear of Pain Rather than Personal Experience Causes Misconceptions

While fear of pain is the top reason adults avoid the dentist, root canal treatment is the most feared dental procedure, according to the AAE survey. In fact, adults are as afraid of getting a root canal (54 percent) as they are of flying on an airplane during a storm (57 percent) and are more fearful of the procedure than of speaking in public or interviewing for a job (both at 42 percent).

When asked, nearly one-third of adult respondents admitted that their fear of the dentist is based on hearing about someone else's experience rather than their own. An ironic situation, since an AAE survey showed most people who have had root canal treatment performed by a specialist report it actually was a positive experience.

"Dealing with patient fear isn't unique to endodontists, but because of the root canal's reputation, we have s
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SOURCE American Association of Endodontists
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