The Danish dental phobia stress dentists

12. June 2009  
Filed in News

It is estimated that 10-20 percent of danes are so afraid of the dentist that they completely dropped the regular visits to the dentist. And to ca. 4 out of 10 adult danes suffer from dental phobia to one degree or another.

In addition to having major consequences for the individual, they have high rates of dental phobia also major societal consequences. It costs the society dearly in sickness and in subsidies for expensive treatments, which may be necessary after many years of neglect and lack of inspection at the dentist.

Fear of dentists affects all groups in society, and not just people with limited resources and profits. “There is a slight over-representation of unemployed people, but all groups are affected, also the bosses and bank managers,” says Rod Moore, a researcher at the university of Aarhus, Viborg Folkeblad.

The lack of correlation between the level of education and frequency of dental phobia can be linked to the reason for the tandlægeskrækken to be found in childhood.

Now Dentists of terror
A group of aarhus dentists and psychologists have been awarded the 190.000 Danish kroner from the central denmark Region to a project to cure dental phobia. One of the aims of the project is to get a larger part of the population to regularly go to the dentist. And it is for practicing dentists who must be better to help patients with tandlægeskrækken.

“It's about meeting the patient on a human level. It is important that the dentist sits down for a chat with the patient about this fear and listening to the experiences the patient had with the dentists. Experiences, as often is the fault of the tandlægeskrækken. And so it is very important that the conversation does not take place in the tandlægestol, as the patient to fear so much, it's about creating confidence,” says Rod Moore, who is a project manager at the Research and treatment center for dental phobia of Dentistry in Aarhus.

“70 percent of all with dental phobia have had a traumatic experience at a dentist before the age of 12 years, and it creates problems for them to this day. But I hope that the project will be able to help a part of them,” says Rod Moore on.

Dentists are affected also by the tandlægeskrækken
In the description of the project also states that dentists can get the stress of having to relate to the resistance they encounter from the patient when they must deal with anxious patients. It can be both mentally and physically exhausting and mean risk for worse treatment of the patient or the symptoms of burnout in dentists.


Dentist, ph.d., dr. odont. Rod Moore has, among others, in 2006 defended a doctoral thesis on dental phobia and pain at the University of Aarhus with the title “Psychosocial aspects of dental anxiety and clinical pain phenomena“. He has also been affiliated with Aarhus Tandlægeskole for over 20 years, been a private dentist for 20 years and been employed at two universities in the UNITED states, among other things, at the Ohio State University, where he also acquired his master's degree. Rod Moore has numerous publications and has lectured at several universities in both Europe and the UNITED states.