- Specific Fear: These are patients who have 1 or 2 specific issues that bother them; usually procedural or physical. This situation is relatively easy to identify and control.
- Loss of Control: usually due to adverse events during their life, these patients typically need high levels of sedation.
- Catastrophe: A small percentage of dental patients really don't fear dentistry, but fear the consequences of dentistry. An example may be a patient with bladder control problems fearing an incident due to a long appointment.
- General Anxiety Disorder (GAD): This is typically the most common underlying cause of dental fear. Unlike the previous categories, this is a recognized medical disorder. These patients have problems dealing with the stress of everyday life, not with dentistry per se. Minimal to moderate sedation can help in these situations. A medical referral would be great to help the patient.
Hans Skariah, B.Sc., DMD
Promenade Court Dental Health Group in Mississauga
2233 Hurontario St., Mississauga, ON, Canada
(1/2 km north of the QEW in the Dome Building)