How To Get Over Your Fear of the Dentist

Published:April 25th, 2012

Do you find yourself putting off regular checkups, and making excuses not to visit the dentist unless you are in terrible pain? If so it’s possible you may have a phobia of going to the dentist. It’s much more common than you think, and it’s estimated around 5 to 10% of the population will avoid visiting the dentist due to this fear, but it’s estimated as many as 20% might avoid visiting the dentist altogether, only going when they can’t stand the pain any longer.

Quite often this fear is related to bad experiences in the dentist chair which puts people off going back. Another problem is the lack of control felt by many of us while we are being treated. When receiving treatment you’re put in a position where it’s difficult to move or speak, and you’re often lying back. Some dentists fail to put patients at their ease as they simply think everyone understands what is going on, and everyone has similar pain thresholds.

Finding a sympathetic dentist
This doesn’t have to be the case as there are a lot of dentists who do understand people’s fears about visiting them, and who take a lot of extra care ensuring they’re comfortable and any pain is well-managed. If you are worried about going to dentist then try to talk to your local surgery about your fears; you’ll probably find them a lot more sympathetic than you think. Unless they know you are worried they can’t take action to make you more comfortable. If they don’t react well to your questions then look elsewhere for another dentist, as it’s important to be taken seriously.

There are certain dentists who go out of their way to create a non-threatening atmosphere, and their surgeries are designed to put people at their ease. Lots of people react to the sounds, smells and sights found in dental surgeries, and surgeries which have taken care to remove these cues are a lot more calming.

Taking back control in the dental surgery
There are lots of things dentists can do to make fearful patients feel more in control. These include explaining exactly what the treatment involves, how long it’s going to take, and answering any questions. They’ll make sure their patient is feeling all right at regular intervals, and will ask their permission to continue. Most will give their patient some sort of cue which means they must stop treatment immediately. It can be as simple as just raising a hand.

Feeling in control can make having treatment much easier, and lots of patients find their fear of the treatment is much worse than reality. If the treatment is designed to relieve pain and discomfort, then you’ll almost certainly feel a lot better very soon afterwards.

Simple techniques to make treatment easier
It can help a lot to take a relative or trusted friend with you to appointments, and some dentists will even allow them to sit with you. Another thing which can help is to take an MP3 player so you can listen to music while being treated. Simple relaxation techniques such as taking a few deep breaths can help relax you before seeing the dentist. Making sure you have discussed all the pain relief options beforehand can put your mind at ease.

Consider getting professional help for your phobia

For more serious cases of “dentist phobia” you might want to consider listening to an audio hypnotherapy session or even better visit a recommended hypno-therapist. With the latest advances in hypnotherapy and NLP, many patients can actually be cured of their phobias within as little as one session.

Have you got any other tips or ideas? Please let us know in the comments section below!

About the author

Alison, is a UK born and educated dental professional with over 25 years experience.

9 Customer Reviews of “How To Get Over Your Fear of the Dentist”

Comment by Sandra, April 26, 2012

Every person’s fears of the dentist are Normal. Fear of dentists is very common. Let’s face it — going to the dentist is not fun; dentists do poke and prod a sensitive area of your body. Often an upsetting childhood dental experience has lasting effects into adulthood. Sometimes people “inherit” fears from parents, whose experiences with dentists may have been traumatic. But dentists are better trained today and have tools and techniques to minimize discomfort.

Comment by Sandra, April 26, 2012

I don’t think my putting off going to the dentist has anything to do with a fear it is mainly because they are so expensive and I can’t afford to go to one on a regular basis. It’s true I don’t like pain but that isn’t a fear. If they didn’t think that their treatments were gold and the prices should reflect that I would go on a regular basis and avoid emergencies all together.

Comment by Dennis, April 30, 2012

I know that my fear of the dentist came from a childhood experience just like Sandra said in her first comment but as she stated in her second comment as well the expense of the dentist is really what keeps me from going to the dentist on a regular basis. I would love to be able to go in every few months and get my teeth cleaned to prevent cavities and things.

Comment by Christine, April 30, 2012

You are absolutely right the dentist is messing around in one of the most sensitive spots on your body and they don’t seem to bother to take it easy when they are in there working. I was at a dentist getting a filling repaired that had fallen out and the dentist had my mouth wide open for hours. Finally something popped in my cheek and it was swollen for a couple of days afterwards.

Comment by William, April 30, 2012

I hate the dentist because it seems like no matter what they do my mouth hurts for two days after the visit. Even when they do nothing but clean them they end up cutting my gums and they are sore for days afterwards. Not to mention not every company offers dental insurance and just a simple cleaning can be something you end up paying on for months.

Comment by Darlene, May 1, 2012

About the only things I fear about the dentist are one, the bill I might have to pay (despite my having a dental plan) after I make my first visit to the dentist since over twenty years. I have a few tiny cavity holes on several teeth and I am worried about how much I’m going to have to pay for five to eight fillings. My other fear is ever having to have a root canal.

Comment by Mark, May 2, 2012

I suppose everyone has their own unique and personal reasons for being afraid of the dentist. Some people fear pain so much that they dread the thought of getting pinched by a long needle – even if it means sedating any discomfort from the dental procedure. For others, it is the thought of having their tooth pulled by a pair of pliers. Such thoughts are nothing more than stereo typical ideas and not realistic of today’s technology.

Comment by Kerry, May 3, 2012

I honestly think I fear the dentist because every time I go he tells me bad news about my teeth that’s going to cost me a fortune or he ends up hurting me. The mouth has so many nerves in it that it isn’t even funny and it’s real easy to hit a nerve or make you bleed. That’s why I don’t like going to the dentist, that and I can’t afford it.

Comment by Jason, May 3, 2012

If you get anxious about going to the dentist does that constitute fear? I get anxious when I go to any doctor or dentist because I am afraid they are going to tell me bad news that I would be better off not knowing about. I think sometimes people are ok with how they feel until the doctor tells them they are sick and then they go down hill quick.

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