Understanding the Fear of Going to the Dentist

A girl scared of dentist
  • Dental phobia is a natural phenomenon affecting millions of people, caused by personal experiences, hearing negative stories from others, and fear of dental instruments.
  • Overcoming fear includes educating oneself on procedures, communicating anxiety to the dentist, and using breathing exercises for relaxation.
  • Treatments for those with dental phobia include sedation dentistry, virtual reality therapy, and CAD/CAM 3D imaging.
  • Understanding where dental phobia comes from, taking steps to overcome it, and considering new treatments available in dentistry today.
  • Individuals lead a more positive experience with the dentist by taking these steps.

It’s safe to say that many people have experienced fear when visiting the dentist at some point in their lives. So the fear of dental visits is a natural phenomenon affecting millions worldwide. But why are people so afraid of dentists? Here’s a closer look at this phobia so you can better understand what causes it and how to overcome it.

The Causes of Dental Phobia

First, here’s a look at where this fear comes from. For some people, fear and anxiety about going to the dentist stem from personal experiences or negative stories, they have heard from friends or family members. This can stem from anything ranging from an uncomfortable visit years ago to hearing about someone else’s bad experience with their dentist.

In addition, some people may have a general fear of needles or other medical instruments used in dentistry that contribute to their discomfort when visiting the dentist.

Another common cause of dental phobia is insufficient information about dental procedures and treatments. It can be easy to become overwhelmed with fear and dread before walking into your appointment without knowing what will happen during a visit or what type of procedure you might need.

A woman with Dental phobia

Overcoming Your Fear

However, there are ways to combat these fears and anxieties associated with going to the dentist. Here are some ways to do that:

Prepare Yourself

You must first take the time to educate yourself on the type of procedure or treatment you will be receiving. This can help ease any anxiety and give you a better understanding of what will happen during your visit. Also, talk to your dentist beforehand to ask questions and get as much information as possible about the procedure.

Communicate Your Anxiety

Don’t be afraid to tell your dentist if you feel scared. They are there to help and should understand your anxiety. Tell them if you’re feeling nervous so they can do whatever it takes to make you comfortable during the appointment.

Take Deep Breaths

Breathing exercises can help relax your body and ease your anxiety. Try to focus on taking deep breaths and concentrating on the present moment rather than worrying about the future.

A woman doing a Dental visit

Treatments For Those With Dental Phobia

If you don’t think you can get rid of your dental phobia, then new treatments are made for you, thanks to the advancement of technology. Here are some of those treatments:

Sedation Dentistry

One way you can overcome your dental phobia is through sedation dentistry. This technique involves administering a sedative to help you relax during the procedure and make it easier for the dentist to work. Advanced dental clinics offer various types of sedation, such as nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation, and intravenous (IV) sedation. It’s up to you to choose which one you’re most comfortable with.

Virtual Reality Therapy

A new development in dentistry is a virtual reality to help people with dental phobia feel more relaxed during their appointments. Virtual reality headsets can take you away from the stressful environment and help you focus on something more calming and enjoyable.


Before, dentists had to use impressions to create a model of your mouth. This could be uncomfortable for many people with dental phobia. Dentists use CAD/CAM technology which uses 3D imaging to produce an accurate and detailed scan of your teeth and gums. There is no need for impressions anymore, thus making it more comfortable for those with dental phobia.

Fear surrounding dental appointments affects millions around the globe. However, understanding where those fears come from and taking steps toward overcoming them can help individuals feel more comfortable when visiting their dentist for routine checkups and treatments.

If you suffer from dental phobias due to past experiences or lack of knowledge surrounding procedures available in dentistry today, there are strategies you can use, such as doing research ahead of time and discussing any anxieties with your dentist, which may help make future visits easier on both mind and body!

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