Dentist Fear

dentist fear
Dentist Fear

I'm in the chair. The room is quiet. I look around, seeing photos of smiling people. I hear a whirring sound beside me. Everything is so quiet. Then, that sound. The rotary spinning at 1000 mph, followed by soft murmuring. My hands grasp the arm rests. I try to relax, crossing and uncrossing my legs, clenching and unclenching the arms of the chair. I try to concentrate on breathing, closing my eyes - then, I sense someone in the doorway.

Welcome to my dental checkup. For many, the feeling is similar. Whether its the drill, the explorer or the needle, many people have a dental fear or dental phobia - a problem that never seems to go away.

Dentist Fear - Real or Imagined?

According to experts, dentist fear is associated with anxiety or phobia. Until studies proved otherwise, dental phobia was seen as irrational and exaggerated. While controversy exists as to whether the fear is "irrational" (its most commonly linked to bad experiences), there are subtypes. For example, "fear of dentists", "fear of a specific dental procedure" and needle phobia are considered rational subtypes of dental fear.

Dental fear is an extreme and persistent fear involving dentists, dental procedures, needles, teeth, or other objects that remind us of a phobic situation. Not surprisingly, a dental drill is often a major factor of the fear. Even thinking or hearing about going to the dentist can cause psychological distress for some. Unfortunately, some children are also influenced by their parents' fears and attitudes about dental treatment - so the phobia continues.

Because dental phobia causes many people to avoid the dentist until a dental problem becomes too overwhelming to handle, let's explore some ways to manage this anxiety. The information provided is suggestive and not offered as professional advice. If you have dental fears that affect your daily routine (e.g., feelings of panicking, sleeplessness, etc.), it is suggested that you consider seeking the assistance of a licensed professional.

Handling Dentist Fears

dental anxiety
With dentistry's many advances, dental treatment has become more sophisticated and comfortable. Some of us continue to worry unnecessarily. For those who continue to have dental anxiety, consider the following techniques:
  • Share your anxiety - speak to the dentist and the dental staff. Getting your concerns out in the open will help your dentist adapt the treatment to your needs.
  • Try to choose a time for your dental visit when you're less likely to feel rushed or under pressure. For some people, that may be a Saturday or early morning appointment.
  • If the sound of the drill bothers you, bring a portable audio system with you on your visit. As you listen to your favorite music, close your eyes and try to visualize yourself someplace soothing like a warm beach, boat or Hawaiian island.

I also reviewed two websites that discussed the issue of dentist fears:

The first site of Dr. Terry S. Gotthelf, suggested that traditional dental care should include opportunities for healing. By developing a six-step program to help patients with a dentist fear, she incorporates the mind-body concept where physical well being can be affected by mental and emotional states.

The other site, the Dental Phobia Treatment Center, offers help identifying the specific type of dental phobia. It then provides concrete, hands-on tips and suggestions for handling that particular phobia.

There are also several books, audio and video tapes to help combat dentist fear. Anxiety and Panic Attacks teaches a powerful, yet common sense approach to ending anxiety and panic attacks using a technique known as the One Move™. Mastering Your Fears and Phobias, proven to be one of the most effective treatments for anxietal fears and phobias, boasting a success rate of up to 90% for as little as a single treatment session.

Painless Cavity Filling
For children afraid of the dentist, there is a research-based series of CDs entitled OLD ME NEW ME. Developed by Mimi Lupon, M.A., L.S.S.P., L.P.C., its designed to help reduce emotional and behavioral problems, as well as negative thinking and feelings in children. Easy to use, it teaches new behaviors and emotional responses to difficult situations. The program has short stories that teach appropriate ways to handle stress through soothing sound effects, music and positive self talk. It is especially effective for those who have experienced trauma.

Dr. Jerry Gordon (, one of the most remarkable dentists on the net, offers a wide range of dental videos. In the video below, he discusses how he and his staff helps patients overcome dental phobia. You can also view dental procedure videos on this site. I believe that it may help to see some procedures being performed as a way to help overcome some of our fears. When we understand how things work, this helps us to feel better prepared and more in control.

I hope you found this information helpful. If you have any suggestions or advice to help others to manage dental phobia, I want to hear from you. Feel free to submit comments.

Dr. Gordon - Dental Phobia

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Dental Phobia Option - EFT
(Emotional Freedom Techniques)
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EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) is a leading edge Energy Psychology approach that can quickly relieve dental phobias, anxiety and stress. My holistic …

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