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Dentist Fear: Anxiety At The Dentist Passed On From Parents, Study Finds

11/16/2012 12:35 EST | Updated 11/16/2012 12:35 EST
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The next time your heart goes into panic mode at the sound of the dentist's drill, you can blame your parents.

According to a study by researchers from Rey Juan Carlos University of Madrid, the "emotional transmission" or fear of the dentist is passed on from parent to child.

"Along with the presence of emotional transmission of dentist fear amongst family members, we have identified the relevant role that fathers play in transmission of this phobia in comparison to the mother," said América Lara Sacido, one of the authors of the study in a press release.

Turns out that fathers who feared the dentist were more likely to pass on these fears and stresses on their children. On top of this, this fear is passed on from mother to child as well, but the mother is also influenced by her husband.

Often dentist fears start with bad experiences, the feeling of not being in control or just being uncomfortable, according to Richard Sine of WebMD.com. One study found that about five per cent of people have severe dental fear, according to the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

Having a fear of the dentist can also be classified under dentophobia or odontophobia, depending on the person. And the author adds that surveys have found that the even the most dreaded procedures, like a root canal or wisdom tooth extraction, had patients more freaked out before the procedure than during it.

For some, getting over the fear is out of the question, but for most there are things that can ease the fear. Distracting yourself by playing mental games, tuning out to music or even telling yourself "it's going to be fine," are ways to feel more comfortable on a dentist's chair.

LOOK: Common things people are afraid of during a dentist visit:

Common Fears At The Dentist