The daughter of Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne tweeted: “I have to go get my filling today and the fear is really really kicking in.
“I need to get over this fear of the dentist but I can’t!”
Kelly is not alone in her phobia, with other celebrities such as Robert De Niro also avoiding the dentist chair.
A recent survey conducted by the British Dental Health Foundation discovered that one in four people do not visit a dentist due to a dental phobia.
Chief Executive of the Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter, said: “Dentists recognise that many patients have this phobia, and therefore try to cater to that person’s needs. Our aim is to make regular dental check–ups an acceptable part of everyday life for everyone.”
Dentists are often more than happy for a nervous patient to bring a friend or family member with them for moral support. The Foundation also suggests taking along an mp3 player so you can listen to music during any treatment.
Another tip to beating a fear of the dentist is to take things one step at a time. The Foundation highlights that going for just a check–up and having no treatments done at first, is a step in the right direction. Other possibilities include visiting a practice which specialises in treating nervous patients or agreeing with your dentist a signal that means stop during your treatment, so you can take breaks whenever necessary.
The National Dental Helpline (0845 063 1188) is a confidential service ran by the Foundation. Fully trained dental nurses and oral health educators regularly receive calls from people suffering from dental phobias, and can provide advice and information. The Helpline is open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
Dr Carter emphasised that dental phobias can mean different things to different people – “for some it can be a fear of needles which puts people off, or it could be feeling a lack of control during treatments. Whatever the cause though, there are ways to conquer it, and it is vital that people have regular check–ups.”
Dentists are able to identify many conditions including gum disease and mouth cancer, which kills one person every five hours in the UK.
With dental techniques improving massively over the last few years, treatments today can be completely painless.
Dr Carter said: “Years ago it would be likely that most patients would need a filling every time they visited their dentist, but things have changed for the better now.”
The survey was conducted as part of National Smile Month (May 16 – June 16), the largest oral health campaign on the calendar. This year’s campaign slogan is ‘Teeth4Life’, which focuses on taking care of your teeth and making them last for life. The Foundation’s key three messages during this campaign are:
– Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
– Visit your dentist regularly
– Cut down on the frequency of sugary foods and drinks in your diet
For further information please contact the Foundation’s Press Office on [email protected] or 01788 539799.
The British Dental Health Foundation is the UK’s leading oral health charity, with a 30–year track record of providing public information and influencing government policy. It maintains a free consumer advice service, an impartial and objective product accreditation scheme, publishes and distributes a wide range of literature for the profession and consumers, and runs National Smile Month each May, to promote greater awareness of the benefits of better oral health.
The Dental Helpline, which offers free impartial advice to consumers, can be contacted on 0845 063 1188 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.
Alternatively, they can be contacted by email on [email protected]
A series of free ‘Tell Me About…’ leaflets covering topics such as caring for my teeth, finding a dentist and diet are also available.
National Smile Month is supported by three giants of oral health–care Oral–B, Wrigley’s Orbit Complete and Listerine.