Monday, June 24, 2024
HomeDental Fear, Phobia & AnxietyDental Phobia: 15 Reasons Why People are Scared of the Dentist

Dental Phobia: 15 Reasons Why People are Scared of the Dentist

A few weeks ago, a teenage boy came into the dental school because one of his teeth was hurting.  I saw him in our pediatric dental clinic and we determined that two of his teeth couldn’t be saved and had to be pulled.

He seemed fine with everything.  I took him over to the oral surgery department to do the extractions and he started breathing heavily and acting very anxious.  I spent a few minutes talking with him about his dental anxiety.  When I tried to give him the anesthetic injection, he covered his mouth and shouted, “I decline treatment.  I have that right!”

Dental Fear and Anxiety - Dentist PhobiaI talked with him for a while and tried again.  I found one of our more compassionate oral surgeons and asked her if she wouldn’t mind helping.  The young man wouldn’t even let her give him the injection.

We scheduled him to get the teeth out under intravenous sedation.  He ended up not needing it because his mother had said that if she didn’t have to pay the $200 for sedation, he could buy something with the money that she would have saved.

Before we gave him the injection at the follow-up appointment, he tried to cover his mouth, but his mom was there with us and helped us hold his hands.  What I found shocking was that after the injection, he said he had barely felt the injection and now he has overcome his fear.

Unfortunately, not all dental fears are that easy to overcome.  Some people literally spend their whole lives being terrified of dental care.

If you want to learn more about dental fears and how to conquer them, I recommend the Dental Fears page over at Dental Fear Central.

Below you’ll find 15 common reasons why people are scared of the dentist.

15 Reasons Why People Are Scared of the Dentist

1 – The Drill. Even if you’re not getting your teeth worked on, chances are that you’ll hear the high-pitched whirring of the dental drill.  I’ve had patients who hate the sound of the drill so much that they wince whenever I turn it on, even if I haven’t touched their teeth yet!

2 – A Bad Dental Experience as a Child. A scary experience as a child at the dentist is all it takes for some people to avoid the dentist as an adult.  I would say that a majority of people who have a fear of the dentist had a bad experience at the dentist when they were young.

3 – Getting Your Teeth Scraped During a Cleaning. If I had to pick one reason to dislike the dentist (or dental hygienist), this would be it.  I used to hate it when they would scrape my teeth with the metal instruments.  It would send shocks through my body and give me goosebumps.

4 – The Anesthetic Injection. There are actually a few fears associated with getting injected.  I’ve divided them into five categories – feel free to add your own in the comments section if I didn’t cover your specific fear of the needle:

  1. Fear of the pain from the injection.  It’s usually just a little pinch, but some people (like the teenage boy in the introduction) have a fear of getting an injection.
  2. Fear of being injured by the needle.  Many people have a fear that the dentist will slip when giving them an injection and injure their mouth or face.
  3. Fear of getting diseases from the dental office such as AIDs or a cold.  How is your dentist doing when it comes to proper infection control?
  4. Fear of being numb.  Some people hate the feeling (or lack of feeling!) of losing sensation to a part of their lips and gums.  Sometimes when we give injections on the roof of the mouth, it can make it feel like it’s harder to breathe, causing a fear of suffocation in some patients.
  5. Fear of the side effects of the anesthesia.  Some people have allergies to the anesthetic or the preservatives used in the anesthetic.  Sometimes your heart races when you get a dental anesthetic injection – read this article to find out why dental anesthetic makes your heart beat faster.

5 – Getting Teeth Extracted. I’ve taken a lot of teeth out during dental school.  Some people think it’s cool, some people view it as a necessary evil, and others are extremely scared of getting a tooth pulled.  Something about having a body part removed that they’ve always had leaves some people feeling unsettled!

6 – Embarrassment. Many people are scared of the dentist because they are embarrassed of their teeth.  They have a fear of getting laughed at by the dental staff due to the poor condition of their teeth.  Trust me, we’ve seen worse!

7 – Demonstrating their Fear. Many people are scared that they will cry in front of the dentist due to their fear and end up making a fool of themselves.  This keeps them from seeking needed dental care.

8 – Having a Panic Attack. Similar to #7, many people are afraid that they will panic while at the dentist and have a panic attack.

9 – Your Dentist is a Jerk! Let’s face it, there are dentists out there who hate what they do − perhaps they got into the profession for the wrong reasons.  Hopefully these types of dentists are extremely rare.  In any case, if you hate having something done to you, and the person who does it hates doing it, it is a recipe for disaster!

10 – Not Having Any Control. Many people are afraid of the dentist because it puts them at the mercy of another individual.  They don’t have any control over the procedure while it’s happening.  One innovation to combat this lack of control is known as the dental button, which allows patients to stop the dental drill if they feel uncomfortable.

11 – Gagging or Choking. Many patients avoid the dentist because they have a fear of gagging or choking.  Dentists use many tiny instruments that can fall down the patient’s throat if the dentist does not take the proper precautions.  Stories like this one make the news and instill this dental fear in many people.  Many patients also gag when they get dental impressions taken.

12 – Allergies. Dentists use a variety of materials.  Some patients fear that they may be allergic to something in the dental office and don’t want to face the consequences of an allergic reaction.

13 – Sounds of the Dental Office. Aside from the drill, there are various sounds that can work up fear in certain patients.  If the person in the next room over is having a procedure done that you hate, chances are it will invoke a certain amount of fear into you.

14 – Smells of the dental office. The dental office has an interesting smell that is made up of a variety of things.  Read my article about the dental office smell to find out more about what exactly causes this interesting odor.  An interesting study found that those people with dental fear hate the smell of clove oil (a common dental material) while those who don’t have a fear of the dentist find the smell of clove oil to be “pleasant.”  Here’s what the study found:

In both groups, menthol was rated as pleasant and methyl methacrylate as very unpleasant, whereas eugenol was judged pleasant by non-fearful subjects but unpleasant by fearful subjects. Concerning autonomic analysis, only eugenol induced significantly different patterns of ANS responses between the two groups, with stronger variations for dentally fearful subjects, mainly observed through the electrodermal channel. These results suggest that eugenol can be responsible for different emotional states, depending on the unpleasantness of the subjects’ dental experience. This seems to confirm the role of odors as elicitors of emotional memories and to support the possible influence of eugenol odor on the avoidance behavior of some subjects toward dental care.

15 – Previous Sexual Abuse. There are many aspects associated with dental care that can bring back vivid memories of abuse.  These include being placed in a horizontal position, having someone in power that touches you and causes you to feel pain.  To learn more about this sensitive subject, I recommend reading this interview with Dr. Carmen Santos, an expert in childhood sexual abuse and its relation to dentistry.


There are many reasons that people may be afraid of the dentist.  Chance are that I missed more than a couple reasons.  If you have a fear of the dentist, please let everyone know what causes your fear in the comments section below.  If you have any tips for those with dental fear, go ahead and leave those in the comments section as well.

Thanks for reading!



  1. I had one of my wisdom teeth removed last Christmas in China( I was born and raised there). The dentist didn’t rub any numbing stuffs around that area and just stabbed me with that needle…I hated that. And according to my aunt, they hammer your teeth in China! Thank god I don’t live there anymore.

    The only bad experience I had was when I went to get my teeth cleaned(It was a dude too). He went down so deep that I almost cried. Next time I will ask for a chick to clean my teeth, lesson learned. Getting fillings done weren’t bad I guess and I actually took pictures of myself with the sunglasses on and the ridiculous thing around my mouth. And I get to watch TV when they work on my teeth! 😀

    Good read!

    • Hi Anser – Thanks for sharing your experience. Our oral surgery department is the only area in our school where we don’t usually rub the numbing gel before giving the shot. I’m not sure why… Anyways, you can always ask for the gel and your dentist will hopefully get it for you.

      Thanks for your comment, Anser!

  2. I have another reason to put up there! My son has an appointment at the end of August for cleaning/annual exam. I’m terrified to take him. He’s 7 and has done pretty at the dentist so far. He had a filling last year and did great. But they told me at that time he had an extra tooth in the middle of the roof of his mouth. They told me that if it stays where it is then it will be okay, but they will keep an eye on it. Well hopefully it is, I’m slightly worried about that. But even more worried because one of his front top adult teeth has come half way down and the baby tooth is pushed back and horizontal! It’s only slightly wiggly. It freaks me out so bad, I don’t know if I should call and get him in sooner or wait until his appointment in six weeks.
    So my reason is Parents being terrified of their child getting traumatized at the dentist, lol

    • Hi Heidi – I’ve been looking into this reason for dental fear. It seems like a lot of parents instill a fear for dentists into their children, and then the kids come to us all scared. We try to make things fun, to alleviate the fear, but it can be difficult if the parent has made the child scared of the dentist.

      Have you noticed that at all, or are you the only one that is jittery about this appointment and your son is fine? Thanks for sharing your experience, Heidi!

    • Heidi, don’t let your fear or your dentist scare you into doing too many corrective procedures on your little boy.
      His mouth isn’t grown up yet and will get bigger to accommodate his teeth. If he needs his wisdom teeth out, let him grow up first.
      My parents were scared into having all my baby teeth extracted at once before the roots had dissolved and later all my eye teeth & wisdom teeth removed because they said my mouth was too small. Now that I’m an adult, the few teeth I have left are falling out because of the trauma of all those extractions.
      Not much had changed since the 50’s. Dentists are apparently still using fear to “earn” their living.

      • Hi Doc – It sounds like you had a lot of bad experiences at the dentist. Some dentists are aggressive, others are more conservative. I won’t use fear to earn my living – that’s not why I got into this profession.

        Thanks for your comment!

  3. Tom,

    You missed one serious reason, why people are scared of dentists. When you’re in a School of Dentistry, the future looks bright. Once in private practice, you’ll be more concerned about your fiscal goals than your patient wellbeing – that’s stiff reality of having no Government option in dental care. You’ll be placing fillings and doing other procedures such a way that would make sure the patient will come back to you quite often. Meaning, making sure that the filling wouldn’t last long, while at the same time it won’t look like malpractice to a naked eye. Especially, if a patient doesn’t have any insurance, and there is no control at all about what you do to him, or have not done when expected. This whole thing results in high cost of dental care “lifecycle”, and generates the most fear in smarter patients. Other patient categories intuitively realize it as well. You may say – there are ways to protect yourself against bad treatment. For most patients – there aren’t: it does require plenty of knowledge and determination that mots ordinary patients lack.

    • Hi Samuel – I did overlook that reason for why people are scared of dentists. I would like to think that a majority of dentists care about their patient’s well-being and give them quality care. If someone in any industry cares about making money more than their patients or customers, I think they will ultimately fail. I think that putting patients first and creating a relationship of trust creates a good dentist.

      If there was a government option in dental care, I’m guessing that the dentists wouldn’t really care too much about their patients since they get paid either way. They wouldn’t have much of an incentive to try to dump $2000 saving a tooth when they could just pull it out and give out a cheaper partial denture. In a government option, there’s no incentive to do an excellent job, and no punishment as long as you’re “good enough.”

      If you find that your dental work isn’t lasting long and you’re taking good care of your teeth, then I would try to find a new dentist and get a second opinion on your previous dental work. I do agree that some dentists don’t care. We recently saw someone in our school who had a root canal done on Medicaid a few months ago. It got re-infected because the dentist didn’t do a good job filling it. If you have another dentist look at your previous work, I’m sure you can get some good advice on the quality of care you’ve received.

      I hope that helps! Thanks for your comment, it made me consider some new issues. Let me know if you have any other questions, Samuel.

    • As soon as you suggested that American’s dentist problem was because we don’t have enough socialism in America, I stopped reading.

  4. Luckily, there are many ways to alleviate the problems that cause these fears. Modern advancements in technology, clinical technique and understanding of dental fear have helped dentists address many of these issues so hopefully the negative childhood experiences can be a thing of the past as this younger generation grows up.

    • I think it would alleviate many fears if dentists would just explain what they were going to do and what each tool was for. I think a lot of the tools look more frightening than they really are and a lot of people are just afraid of the unknown. There is still A LOT of room for improvement on this for MANY dentists

  5. I don’t like going to the dentist because the fact of the matter is that it HURTS. Just getting a cleaning with the pointed tools they have and they dig into my gums…. just thinking about it gives me chills. Plus I have pretty sensitive teeth and when they spray the water in there it also hurts. Oh yeah one more thing is the sound of the sucker thing that sucks your spit out. So all of that pretty much adds up to me only going to the dentist when I have unbearable pain.

    • Hi Justin – Thanks for sharing. There are certainly lots of things that people dislike about the dentist. Before your comment, I wouldn’t have even thought that the sound of the sucker (saliva ejector) could be annoying. Thanks for your comment!

      • I miss spitting in the round sink with the swirling water and the little plastic cup in the metal holder that fills with water automatically when the weight changes.
        And those “space-age” green enameled chair/table/workstation/lamp combination. The tools would fit inside the body and come out with the push of a button.
        The little tray where the doctor kept his instruments of torture was made of milk glass with a fluted edge.

  6. thanks alot about this informative article,i’ve enjoyed reading so much.
    I think i can add another reason of afraid from injection(from my experience) is that the shape and the frame of the syringe and the length of the needle especially when you’ll give deep injection like inferior dental block,they elicit fears in some patients.
    thank you

    • I think the worst injection I’ve ever been given was when I had my front teeth filled — I had a total of eight cavities in four teeth.

      What caused my fear of the dentist (which I used to deem an “irrational fear”) was a childhood experience — some time before I turned six years old, a dentist did his work on me without any anesthetic; then he raised his voice at me when I wouldn’t open my mouth, as if he expected otherwise!

      Anyway, I’m 20 now and I’ve been to the dentist at least ten times in the last two years — I’m not the best at taking care of my teeth. Of all these visits, I’ve only had one bad experience.
      When I’m in the chair, and you dentists decide to play this number game with my teeth, I get rather agitated. Also, when you bring something that looks extremely painful out, I want to know what the hell it is before it goes anywhere near my mouth. Well, this dentist did not enjoy my constant questioning and threatened to stop mid-way through pulling my wisdom tooth. It was crumbling as he grabbed it (I had used too much Orajel and the tooth had decayed beyond belief.) All in all, let’s just say I have a new dentist now.

      I suppose you could add that to your list of fears.

  7. Well I’m absolutely petrified of going to the dentist, I’m 16 and I cry every time… but I cant help it. I had loads of teeth pulled out when I was a bit younger and that was probably the problem. And I had to have the only filling I have replaced last year and oh my, the size of needle she used terrified me….can still here the noise of that drill and the smell bleugh! lol

  8. a quick bit of advice… I have the gagging problem when i go to the dentist.. its a simple fix. I just ask for the gas (laughing gas) when using that i dont gag. It works perfectly.

    injections HURT, just a pinch my ass you know, i had ten injections only for two teeth! and in two areas my dentist forgot to put the numbing jelly stuff there D: then there was an emergency so i waited alone for half an hour dribbling everywhere, i was so embarrased. then they came back and the dentist pulled out my bottum tooth, was fine hurt a little not much, then she went for the top one OUCH. she pulled it and jolted forward and my tooth literally snaped in half, i could hear it!! (i have misophonia which dosnt help) it was horrible, she then got a drill, in my mind i was liek :O LEAVE ME ALONE etc* then she started drilling, it was soo horrible i could see my blood flying everywhere, i was so scared and she got a metal sticky thing and scraped my tooth, i went right through me i wanted to punch her and run. then she and her helper stuck ths tube down my throat to suck the blood away, that helper person made me gag, i was coughing as she was drillign, AND SHE SLIPPED drilled right into my gum!!! at this point i screamed, or let out a high pitch whine. no jelly or injection had been put there. this lasted tw long ours. anyway she gave me stichtes and sent me off 🙁 i had to return the next week for two more taken out, i was SO SCARED. she wanted to take out my stiches and take my teeth, i wouldnt let her touch me, i said take the stichtes, leave my teeth alone, DO NOT TOUCH MY TEETH. so i had to have my teeth taken out the next week, today. today i went inand i was so so so scared, i was breathingrapidly and ripping my tissue apart, what if the same happend? i dont know what came over me, i saw the injection and i closed my mouth. no. and she forced it open and injcted me 🙁 i tried to divert my eyes else where but the needle was HUGE i had again ten injections, she tried to steal my bottum tooth but it hurt so they like put this thing on my gum pressed the button and something shot into my gum, she did this six timess on the bottum only.i was so scared, they bothleft the room and i started crying, i wasnt even in pain! i wasnt hurting at all i was just so scared i started crying, seems stupid now i say it. i held it in when she came back lieing in the chair eyes watering, i had drops of tears falling down into my ears :S honestly i was so scared, i was terrifyed of this lady attacking my mouth. i had gloves in my hand and well lets just say, they are not gloves anymore. i was ripping apart anything in my hands, whic was gloves, a scarf and tissue. not only that but the idiot wasasking me questions through the process as if i could answer >:( when i was numb she was liek *you have to speak to me* one) i was numb and two) i was dizzy and three) i was in pain and wanted her to explode. when she tried to take the top tooth out she asked six or seven times efore i opend my mouth wide enough, i had so much blood and ssaliva :S i started to gag and choke, making rying mroe obvious now -_- i was so scared, the helper held my head so i couldnt move (cas i was coughing) i was thinking *HELLO, STOP SO I CAN BREATH* i started jiggling around, not keeping still. thedentist stopped and the helper rubbed my arm, i rudly pushed her off and they forced me down, and yanked them out D:

    im too scared, im having braces soon, what do i do, im literally petrified, i have never cried for fear before, not really 🙁

  10. I gagged last time (the dentist ended the procedure early, it was a simple scale and polish, it was the water going down my throat while I’m horizontal that did it for me, still charged full price though!) My dentist is not particularly pleasant and I had four teeth pulled as a child, the laughing gas was as good as useless (I screamed, they had to turn the radio up!) Surprisingly I’m a bit anxious but not phobic. Perhaps another cause of dental anxiety is the codes the dentist uses to speak to the assistant, e.g. ‘1, 2, 3, no 4.’ It’s not nice being unable to understand what someone is saying about you although to get round this, if this makes you uncomfortable, just think it’s like text talk, saves time, meaning you’re home quicker. Regular dentist visits, just check-ups, are a good way of learning to deal with your anxiety, if you can afford them of course, as you get used to the experience. Try to think of something funny, too, e.g. imagine the dentist in a silly costume, saying ‘I stink’, or after the ‘4’ bursting into ‘5, 6, 7, 8’ by Steps (I don’t have an opinion on them, really, but it would be funny if the dentist randomly started singing in the middle of an appointment). Or: ‘Bill Bailey dentists’ on YouTube? Hope this helps!

  11. As I get older, I realized I am just as afraid as I used to be, if not more. The sounds, the smells, the mystery of “is it gonna hurt once he gets waaay down there?!”. The suspense is a big factor for me. Its like watching a horror movie; startling jerks, unexpected loud noises, blood, pain. I truly wish I could just go to the dentist, get knocked out, and have them do anything and everything that needs to be done all at once. Then I’d just have to come back for cleanings. I can handle the afterpains. I once had 6 root canals done on my front teeth (the extreme effort of one kind dentist to save a 16yr old smile from years of decay). That was a piece of cake. However, 8 yrs later I have a loose bridge in the front of my mouth. Dentist said implants are the best option, or a partial plate. Implants are so expensive. I’m still a student, can’t afford them. I don’t want a partial, and risk the “sunken in” look you get after dentures. So another huge huge huge fear is that, while working on other teeth, the dentist will knock out the loose bridge and not be able to fix it. Then what? Missing 3 teeth in the front? No way. I think once I can afford implants and get that bridge fixed, I’ll be a lot more at peace!

  12. I don’t like the dentist at all the only part that freaks me out is opened my mouth i haven’t been to the dentist in a long time and I’m eighteen i just want a dentist that doesn’t acquired teens to open there mouth to wide because i can’t do that.

    • Hi Matthew – You can share this with a dentist and let them know how far you are able to comfortably open. The dentist should be able to let you know if they can take care of you given how wide you are able to open. I hope that helps – Good luck!

  13. hi this is going to sound really crazy to be honest but i will tell it as it is i am petrified of the dentist i am 24years of age lol but thing is with me i suffer really bad with panic attacks and also epilepsy and belive it or not my teeth are in a terrible state yes my own silly fault for not taking care of them and at the moment im that down and have so much self hate for myself cause its taking its time for my referal to go through to be sedated to have them sorted i have a big fear over everything to do with the dentist aswel

  14. Hello,

    I have a new one for you… I am not afraid of the needle or the pain I am absolutely terrified of the filling material. I think it is going to make me crazy! I know how irrational this is, I know that it is over the top! I have fillings in my mouth that have been there for over 40 years but I cannot make myself be ok about getting additional work (which I need). I freak out about it for months afterward! So to sum it up; I could do the work if I was EXTREMELY afraid of the fear after! HELP?!?!

  15. Claustrophobia, Small surgery, invasion of your personal space ,gagging from the instruments, tray across hemming you in. I’m sweating already

  16. Dear Tom, thank you for putting up such an informative website and trying to help people to deal with their dental fears.
    I have a severe dental phobia. All of the reasons mentioned above apply to me. However, there is one more: it has to deal with the phenomenon of death in a broader sense, since teeth are the symbol of vitality: any work done to your teeth is forever, it cannot be undone, teeth will never naturally heal like other organ tissues, so the “damage” done to your tooth tissues by the drill is a priori unrecoverable. Even if a filling is used, it’s only a tempoary solution and it will eventually fail, and more drilling will be nesessary, and more tooth tissues will be taken out until it’s completely gone, and that’s the sign that my body is unrecoverably wearing out, which is so stressful to realize. Interestingly enough that I realize of course that the same applies to an intreated cavity, too, but the whole experiense at the dentist’s just makes the feeling of “loosing my grip on life” more “condensed” and gee is that stressful! I have been thinking a lot about my dental phobia and came to the conlusion that it’s the stress caused by realization that my body is wearing out which is reitirated at the dentist’s office is the major reason why I avoid dental treatment: I am unconsciously putting this stress and bad thoughts off by avoiding them in their concentrated, “condensed” form.
    I know it’s quite silly, but it is a problem for me and I am not sure how to overcome it.

    • This is a bit late to reply to the date but I cannot see any more up to date fear that corresponds. Your fear is very similar to mine. One of my back teeth has a filling that is so deep that I cannot chew on that tooth without pain. If I forget and chew hard on something the pain goes on and on. So much I cannot sleep. If I stop biting on that side of the mouth for few days the pain goes away and I can chew lightly again. I have another filling that has just come out on the other top side, from having to over use that side and because the dentist has not been able to anchor the filling the composite firmly, from the way it was broken with one side of the tooth sheared off diagonally downward. I know that soon because of the back bottom tooth been drilled away so low and the pain in chewing hard, that it will probably have to come out. Also my other side left top tooth will probably have to come out because a firmly anchored filling seems impossible. When this happens I will have not many teeth and find it very hard to chew my food. It reminds me of death as well. You would think in this day and age technology would know how to regrow natural tooth replacements. (As technology can reproduce some of the human function of speech recognition in the I Phone and many other examples) I have been hearing about this in the news for years but it still seems decades or centuries away. If it comes in my lifetime I will be deemed past the use by date or they will say it cannot be made to work in an old person. Even younger people may be lucky if that happens for them.

  17. I could pretty much tolerate any dental work until I got yelled at (everyone heard it!) by the gal taking the x-ray and let’s just say it went down hill from there. The dentist did not ask if I preferred gold or porcelain crown and he was EXTREMELY rough–tried to deflect the issue by saying, “”I bet you feel like a truck just drove through your mouth.” (Had a cousin go to same dentist and we both swore we’d let our teeth fall out before going back.) The ordeal actually triggered PTSD/reactive depression. Recent dental appt. (not same dentist) has stirred up the old feelings. First of all, I don’t need to be told to have my blood pressure checked or reminded to brush my teeth 2x daily–I am almost 60 years old do not appreciate being treated condescendingly. (I have been diligent in oral hygiene and semi-annual checkups.) The biggest anxiety-inducing moment was while the (young) dentist stood behind me and rattled off the condition of each of my teeth while the hygienist wrote it down. After I heard all of this he says, ” I don’t want to scare you but…”. I doubt that there will ever be a comfortable, trusting dentist-patient dynamic so will not return. Until the anxiety/depression/PTSD subside any dental procedure is not possible but hope to later consult local dentist who is highly recommended and very considerate as well as respectfully age-appropriate.

  18. My fear: I’d had only 3 fillings ever, in my childhood on the top of my mouth. As an adult, I suddenly needed to have a filling on the bottom. He injected the bottom to freeze it and began to drill, only it wasn’t frozen! He noticed me scooching lower in the chair, away from him and his drilling, as I could clearly feel what can only be described as intense, painful cold.
    He tried several times, over and over to inject the area but to no avail.
    He ultimately said, “you are one of the small percentage of people who have an extra nerve in your lower jaw and its not freezing.” No kidding.
    He said he would try to ‘hurry’ and do the drilling as fast as he could. I haven’t been back since and in these past 4 yrs, I’ve developed numerous, painful cavities, 4 of which I know are on the bottom!
    I’m terrified to go back 🙁

  19. I had a really lovely dentist, but she only does people under the age of 18.
    My biggest fear is a filling. I think because of the injection, though I’m not entirely sure. I’ve had a multitude of orthodontic treatments (and a creepy orthodontist) and I guess I associate anything to do with my teeth as negative.

    I’m hoping you can help me with something though – one of my bottom molars has got two black lines on top of the molar cracks. I picked at them with a toothpick and bits of it came out, though I couldn’t get all of it off. What do you think this could be? If I go to the dentist to get it taken out, can I avoid a filling?

  20. I have to get braces but i never had a procedure done on me ever in my life not even surgery for a broken bone and i am 15 years old but i am scared to get braces

  21. I have an extreme heat of the dentist due to my response to local anesthesia. It doesn’t seem to work making me and the dentist frustrated. It seems like after getting the needle, the anesthesia is usually wearing off in 5-10 minutes when the dentist starts going to work. So because of this the whole dental procedure is almost always painful

  22. Getting teeth pulled is probably my worst fear. I found out recently that two of my widson teeth needed to come out and I went to the dentist nervous and thought I could handle it but after having three panic attacks, I realized that I wasn’t ready. It also didnt help that my dentist was kind of an ass, he got very frustrated with me when I started to painc and told me that I need to stop this and that he couldn’t deal with me and that I need to go else where . So after that experience I will probably not go back to get my widson teeth out anywhere because of how much I freaked out and how embarrassed I was that I couldn’t go through with it.

  23. I am absolutely terrified of the dentist. Whenever I was a little girl, my pediatric dentist would strap me to the table and make me wear the gas and I would freak out and have panic attacks. Whenever I started crying and having the panic attack she would put me in the corner in the “time out chair.” Now I cringe just getting my teeth cleaned. I have a root canal in the morning and I am a complete mess! I have been given valium to help with the anxiety but it isn’t phasing me one bit. Not quite sure if it is the shots, the drilling, or what exactly it is that makes me so afraid as an adult but I am freaking out!!

    • According to this dentist: Ramiel Nagel. A lot of route canals are unnecessary and should only be done as a last resort. Here is a link to his book:
      I had a route canal done about 1992. Even with a local anesthetic pulling out the nerve was painful but he kept putting the tip of the needle into the nerve, to squirt a little more to make it less painful. It was just the tip of the needle that was mainly the pain. He then filled the tooth with mercury amalgam filling. The tooth is still there today although dead. This Ramiel Nagel recommends a second dentist opinon because he thinks it is only something as a last resort and sometimes the result of route canals can lead to other complications. If the route canal is done correctly though and all soft tissue is removed from the canal, at the base of the tooth there is less likely to be adverse after effects. I hope it goes alright for you if you have to go for the route canal.

    • To be clear this Ramiel Nagel was not my dentist in 1992 or now. I am in New Zealand and I think he is in the USA. I wish he could be though.

  24. I’m not afraid of the dentist i’m terrified cause it’s really just torture. I can’t swallow and gag and click because I can’t close my mouth and swallow it’s like waterboarding it simulates drowning. The drill and pain is nothing I know it needs too be done but they have you in a back position with your mouth open and it’s almost impossible top swallow without a closed mouth. If there was only a way to do it at a hospital with trained experts and anesthesia like a real surgery.

  25. I’ve had several negative experiences as an adult that make me dread going to the dentist (my childhood experiences were all great. Even when I had to have a root canal done due to an accident where I broke one of my front teeth in half). Mostly, it’s feeling as if I was better off before I went to the dentist. For an example, I had 3 fillings done. They were not bothering me at all prior to having the fillings done….but afterward, it hurt to eat due to a high filling and several painful cuts on my gums (possibly from the rubber dental dam clamps maybe….not sure exactly how my gums got cut up during the procedure, only that it happened while I was at the dentist). It didn’t help that the dentist was yelling at his new assistant the entire time…nor did it inspire a lot of confidence to hear her say, over and over, that this was her first time assisting with fillings (and she kept messing up so it took forever and my jaw hurt so much due to having TMJ and being open wide for an extended period of time).

  26. I had a dentist appointment 2 days ago and I began crying when they begin poking me with the anesthetic not because it feels like a pinch because I will admit I have gotten various but I am 16 and I was very embarrassed on my lack of straight teeth and decision of getting braces in another country leading me to have unfinished process of braces. Plus they remove one of my brackets. I have concluded that I have a dental phobia but perhaps my dentist probably assumed the reason I was crying was because the anesthetic in which I disagree because I have gotten it before it even as a child and I have not flinched before, I always held it in but I am in regret with only having brackets on and no wire and what not, a total embarrassment of also having to explain my mistake. My teeth are probably my biggest insecurity and they have caused me to not enjoy life as much as I know.I should I always cover my mouth when I smile and I feel ridiculous but I hope when im older, ill have better teeth.

  27. I know exactly how this feel, i am scared of the dentist as well. I didnt go for 15 years coz the thought of it made me feel sick, when i was a child the dentist my family used was nicknamed Jas, you can imagine how lovely he was. Eventually i had to go coz i didnt want my kids to have the same fear as me and i was lucky that i had a sympathetic dentist and although, it took years, i can now go to the dentist without throwing up.

    Now I would recommend anyone who feels nervous to pay Jas and the team ( ) a visit and like me you will feel and look great as a result.

  28. i am 72 have an irrational fear of bleeding after tooth extraction. I have no other dental phobia at all. So my problem is with bleeding. I had 4 teeth extracted as a child being laid on the kitchen table and given ether.
    Bad bleeding occurred. A year later the same thing happened (4 more teeth needed to come out!!) and on the table I reacted badly and fought the ether, so the procedure was halted. Never did have them out!

    Ever since I’ve had a fear of bleeding, but unfortunately, instead of getting used to it, the situation is getting worse. I have had to return to the dentist and have stitches before now but my current dentist will not do that for me (he said it didnt’t have the material in the surgery). I am getting in such a state with all this, any help or suggestions would be gratefully received.

  29. I am 57 years and I had a bad dental experience when I was a child. I neglected my teeth for almost 15 years now. I was very frightened to go and see the dentist. I live in Oakville, Ontario and I was looking for a dentist near home who is gentle and friendly. I looked everywhere and asked people at work and in the school. After doing research, I decided to book an appointment with one local dentist who just opened an office around the corner.

    My first visit was last Friday, I made him aware of my fears and I asked that my first appointment to be just exam (no work to be done). It was the best 45 minutes of my life. He was so nice that I felt very comfortable and he explained every little detail to me. The good news that I expected to find a lot of cavities which I didnt. Here is what I learnt from my first appointment:

    1. Talk to your dentist about your concerns. If he/she is busy to listen to you, go and find another dentist who will actually listen.
    2. Start with an exam first. Dont do any work on your first visit.
    3. Ask them to explain the procedures. Knowledge is power.
    4. If you dont like to be not in control. Ask for breaks or set signs.
    5. Ask for music or TV if available (good distraction

    Here is the reference:

  30. I have a terrible fear of dental injections. I cry if I am suppose to get a shot. I never let them give me one. It all started when I was about 10 I had a dentist I really didn’t like. He was weird and kind of a jerk. I was told I had a cavity (my very first) and he wanted to look at it. He told me to open so I did. The nurse grabbed my hands and I started getting worried and said I wanted my mom. The as he was “checking” my teeth he took the syringe and plunged it right in there. I felt the pain and started crying and then they told me the worst was over and starting fixing my teeth after a little. I have had phobia ever since.

  31. On Saturday Morning I had a Dentist Appointment, just a Checkup & I had only seen this guy once as my other Dentist didn’t even have computer, or Eftpos either, & Kelv (my brother) reckoned not up to date Equipment so I went to Kelv’s one in town.

    I was so nervous as last time only a quickie, David he only 25, real decent bloke, could be a brother in mtg! He came out, OK Wendy, then I’m gng to the Wgtn wedding show tomorrow, have u been to one before, I said only a sml 1 in New Plymouth (1st I knew there was one here anyway)!!!!! I just proposed to my girlfriend last week, it was soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo funny, need I have been nervous @ all, it was more like gng out for a cup of coffee & a brownie with Bernie than a Dentist Visit, anyway, we got down to business & telling me he went to Iceland & England, took his girlfriend over there & proposed & she cried she was so stoked, not getting married for 2 years as they have to save up etc! All of a sudden I just had to sit up, I had dry as lips/mth etc, & he said you’re nervous aye coming here!!!!! I said No I’m not, just forgot my pump btle of water I normally have in car, which was true too! He said everyone gets nervous aye, it’s fine as! I nodded. He said I actually really like patients with a dry mth it makes it so much easier for me, teenage boys are the worst, they salivate like rubber dogs & sweat (YUCK) I laughed so much & so did he & the other Assistant Katelyn, neither of us could do anything for a while, & I so relaxed aye, anyway this Ultra scaler will help as it will water your mth, feel the end of it, it’s blunt as, sure enough it was! Actually he ended up twice getting water down my neck & had to wipe it off, & I said free shower!!!!! Then after that, Bubblegum toothpaste, he said it does taste nice but not too nice otherwise we’d eat the lot of it, we sometimes have Mango, peach & Chocolate though that tastes like Plastic, smells good, I’m just gng to turn the polisher thing up a bit, but not too high otherwise I’ll get toothpaste all over my face!!!!!!!! I said hey u are so gentle, never felt a thing aye? I do actually go myself to one aye? OK probably!!!!! When I was 19 & back in Dental Training we first had to do Root Canal’s & fillings on our students, I got a filling, I did a root canal, to separate the roots I put a bit of paper in, but did the whole thing & forgot about the paper till the end & had to undo it & redo it again, my student was not real pleased with me either! Like kids aye playing Dentists, I should have said if I need one done, UM can u refer me elsewhere. All done now & the chair wouldn’t go down so I had to climb down, so funny, don’t have to go back for a year though. I had actually asked for him as my 1st choice as seen him on the website & it said a bit what he did etc, & I wanted someone with a
    Sense of humour & that would talk, seeing I can’t. So all good. I got my WOF, he thought this hilarious, he would get on well with Vern & Kelv I reckon,

  32. I have a terrible phobia of dentists i used to be fine with going when i was a kid my dentist would say yep thats fine come back next time but then he retired and i got a female dentist first visit she said i needed two fillings and i said but everything was fine last app 6 months ago she threatened to call my mum in and say i was being uncooperative so i settled down and let her there was pain and i thought i hope i never have to get another filling my mum was shocked when i came out as she knew my teeth had been fine but she let it go next app 6 months later she says you need two fillings then hit the teeth that she did last app i told her but you did those last time she then got angry and said your calling me a lyer i had asked my mum to come in since i was scared and mum said the same then took me out of there we asked for a different dentist but i didnt go back til i was 15 it was another female dentist and i was in pain as i had a hole in the bottom of my tooth she seemed nice at first telling me not to be scared of needle as it would make the pain go away she then started digging in the hole saying food had got in and rotted part of the tooth she started yanking on my tooth and i put my hand up saying that hurt but she carried on like she hadnt heard me i kept saying ow and stop then part of my tooth came off i felt it happen and screamed sat up and pushed her away at this point she seemed bored and said breath deep then sit back im not done i was shaking panting and crying from pain then the assistant said somthing about going to get somthing else so they then told me they would rub numbing gel and inject again eventually i agreed as the pain was so bad and i didnt feel anything else however after she was finnished she told me to make another appointment for another filling i said sure went out to reception paid and didnt make an appointment i then walked three blocks to my house and was embassed as everyone was staring at me when i got home i ran to the mirror wondering why and there was blood everywhere i never felt it as she had numbed me better the second time and i stared into the mirror looking at blood all round my mouth running down my neck and cried why had she hurt me so much and why didnt she her assistant or the two receptionist say you have blood on you instead letting me walk out and other people stare at me like i was a horror show. My dentist now is very nice puts me at ease and has never hurted me for one tooth which was next to the one she did he put 5 injections in as i said i could still feel it and waited til i calmed before starting work however for how nice he is and i like going to him i still feel nervous scared and butterflies in the pit of my stomach anytime i make an appointment i shake and cry either before or after the phone call even though i know he wont hurt me. Will i ever get over this fear that two females started in me? Lets just say i will never go back to a female dentist

    • I will never ever ever go to a female dentist either.
      I too have had bad times being held down for fillings when I was young & I literally said to my niece if I can’t ever get a male dentist I’m not going back ever again.
      I ask for a male dentist now he does the hygienist thing too, it is on my notes that I will only have 3 of the males, my brother goes to the same practice & so does my friend & they’ve had a female & she really rough, so there you are.
      My sister said to me always go to a male as they more compassionate.
      Emailed a Dentist once I’d like so & so, sorry you can’t he does oral surgery only & we have a very nice female Dentist, I panicked her even saying, so I emailed back & said No don’t bother thanks, I had said I do not want a female either. Also she took nearly all day to get back to me despite the fact I had emailed her the evening before. That put me off. I tried another one, & much better.

  33. I have to go to the Dentist 2 weeks from today.
    They TXT me & told me to make an appointment, my mum’s dentist still sends out old fashioned cards.
    So I rung up & they got my D.O.B. etc & full name, really professional too.
    As I haven’t had a filling for 17 years, not too bad actually.
    I go to Symes de Silva in Wellington NZ & Dr David McKelvey is great too.
    I like the fact that you go to the Receptionist & say I have an appointment with Dr David as it sounds more like sore throat stuff.
    Plus the Dental Rooms are far enough away from the waiting room, that’s what I like. I hate the sound of the drill too, even if I can hear it OUCH.

  34. 16. COST – a lot of procedure especially dental work can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, especially if it’s not covered by your insurance. If you don’t have insurance you might have to sell a kidney before you go to the dentist especially if you haven’t been to one for years.

  35. My fear is that the novacain or injection will cause my heart to race faster then it already is, as i have severe panic disorder at the last time I was at the dentist he accidentally hit a vain at the injection with it to my bloodstream and caused my heart to palpitate which caused me to have major anxiety and a panic attack. Not only that but he attempted to extract the tooth but because the tooth was so infected i felt the pain of the first big rench!! He sent me home with antibiotics and told to come back in two weeks when the tooth has healed. Now my gums hurt where he scrapped them down and my tooth is killing me!! Im afraid to go back to this dentist because he seems to always be in a rush.

  36. I love gng to my Dentist, he is soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo gentle & kind & caring also.
    & gets me out of pain & very professional & quick also.
    I had to go to another Dentist just to pick up some Sensitive Teeth Toothpaste that only Dentists had not supermarkets etc & this particular Dentist was sooooooooooooooooooooooooooo sml & the rooms right there beside the waiting room & I could hear everything, noise & smell going on, if the receptonist lady hadn’t seen me as she on fone & said to wait I would have gone then. I just felt ill.
    My Dentist rooms are like hotel rooms & also quite a way away from waiting room also.
    I have had comments on why don’t you change your dentists as he is so far away.
    He is still in the same city but because of traffic sometimes it does take longer. I just reply back you change your Dr & no i won’t, same thing.
    I prefer my dentist as above, also he has weekend appointments @ no extra charge too. Where I work I am needed @ work I haven’t got time to go to a Dentist then either.

  37. I have three broken teeth, all of which are too low to be capped. My dentist will not pull them and referred me to dental surgeon. I can barely afford to have tooth pulled and she wants me to get implants besides. I have always been nervous of going to dentist, but usually can deal with regular treatment, but having a tooth removed is traumatic to me, I already had one removed a few years ago, and the experience was awful. Even though they knocked me out, the whole thing made me sick and even the pain pills made me nauseous. And now I should have metal screw put into my jawbone?? I am so freaked out by this I don’t know what to do. Besides the pain and stress, is the financial issue, my dental insurance will be maxed-out, and surgeon’s office won’t let you do a payment plan. I just keep putting the whole thing off. But teeth have been hurting me and I know I can’t avoid it much longer. And they wonder why folks are afraid of dentist visits….

  38. Hi,

    I have a severe fear of needles and have to get a my first ever cavity filled. My dentist said that it was not deep and was only a small cavity caused by my braces. Do I have a choice of not getting the needles?


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