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Readers Respond: Why Are You Afraid of the Dentist and Dental Treatment?

Responses: 71


Updated May 05, 2009

From the article: Fear of the Dentist

An estimated 80% of adult Americans have a fear of the dentist. In some cases, this fear prevents many people from obtaining the regular dental care necessary to maintain healthy teeth and gums. When a dentist is aware of your specific fears or phobias, steps can be taken to help alleviate the stress and anxiety associated with dental treatment.

What do you fear about the dentist and dental treatment? Share your stories of dental fear here and realize that you are not alone.

Scared and nervous

I am 26 and haven't been to the dentist since I was about 6 or 7. Bad teeth run in my family. I need work bad and am in pain all the time. No insurance and lost my job so money is tight. I will be going to a clinic in SC because I can afford it. Reviews are mixed with good and bad, mainly dealing with one dentist (hope I don't get him). But I am so scared. I am looking at all teeth pulled and dentures or upper denture and lower partial. The pain is what I'm scared about especially if I get this one dentist (no, you can't pick either at this place) because he has reviews saying he gives you the shot to numb, but has been known to start pulling teeth before your mouth is numb. YIKES! I am making this 7.5 hour drive, know that I will be much happier and pain free once it's over with BUT am still scared sh*tless. I wish I could find a way to calm myself, but haven't yet. They offer sedation, but can't afford that. Wish me luck, I'm hoping that by expressing my fears, it will help.
—Guest FL_Girl

Fear of dentists

Because it hurts! And I don't like pain. No matter what they do, it still hurts.
—Guest Robin

Why I hate them

IF I have to get braces retainers a needle or teeth out... I will run
—Guest Ben

My reason

The reason I hate the dentist is I was given the lesson and the chair doesn't look very nice. Neither do those instruments and the drilling is unbearable!
—Guest gizmo


I heard it hurts when Novocaine is used and I cant stand pain. I've got to go to the dentist soon, but I use some tricks like sleeping late, not talking about it, and also just wishing that I don't go. I never had a problem but if I don't get this baby tooth out soon, I will probably visit pain city at my dentist appointment.
—Guest ramdom

This may help!

Dental consultations used to be nightmares for me but this fear has lessened since I started trying out a technique.During painful procedures,relax all your muscles and try to remain physically calm though your mind is tensed.Fristly,avoid unnecessary twitching and magnified expressions of pain..Then,imagine that you are a dead body on which some 'experiments' are being performed.Lie as if the body is no longer yours..This may work out even better if you have an intrinsic motivation to 'show-off' your pain tolerance before the dentist :). I am almost sure he/she will be impressed!(however, don't overact and mislead the dentist for he must realize when it gets really painful.give necessary facial signals when needed.. :D) good luck, Shambhu
—Guest Shambhu

kept trying.. (2)

Been with my dentist for years now. She is very patient and very kind and even if i know that what shes about to do will probably be uncomfortable or painful, i know im in good hands. Im not saying i fancy going to the dentist, none does, but i do believe one needs to find the right one. One that talks to you, listens(!) to you and YOUR well being is first priority. Of all the comments i read i feel horrified of the things that can happen in a dentist's chair. Scaring little children is just ...sick. Especially coming from a doctor. its irresponsible. Thats why its important to find a good dentist. :) I'm 25 and i love my dentist.
—Guest Kastanja

kept trying.. (1)

First time dentist was a nightmare. She was drilling my teeth and would glance to the side talking to the assistant about who knows what. The filling she put in didnt match my teeth color and for years i felt ashamed to smile, cos of the very white filling in my bone color teeth. I was 12. Kept trying other dentists. One would put "try" filling in my tooth and used anesthetic, next week would take it out and put permanent one without anesthetic. First time extraction was with another dentist. I asked how long would it take, she said 20 minutes. it took 2 hours and 20 minutes. She broke the tooth in 3 parts in my mouth, and tried to take them out one by one, broke the tooth next to the one she was trying to pull, cut my gum, cut some blood vessel then realized she doesn't have any medicine to stop the bleeding. i never went back there for checkup. The filling from one of my front teeth fell out and tooth broke off. Naturally i had to find a dentist. And i think i found the right one.
—Guest Kastanja


When I was a child I loved the dentist. He never hurt me, never let me see the needle, always had a toy chest. THEN as an adult I went to adult dentists. The games were over. Then the nightmares began. Many bad dentists later, I now have dentures. What's the difference between a dentist and a sadist? Newer Magazines!


They refuse to believe me when I tell them I need more novocaine than most people. So they give me the usual dose which doesn't do the job, the pain shoots into my brain like 50,000 volts of electricity. The last time this happened I warned the dentist that if he hurt me I was going to hurt him. Sure enough the pain wracked through my system, I grabbed his arm and shoved him backwards across the room. Freakin bastards, all of them. I HATE DENTISTS!
—Guest GT


I feel very uneasy going to a professional whos in favour of treating me with fluoride without even seeing me. Many people are showing signs of reactions to excessive fluoride (over 40% of Americans are now getting signs of fluoride overdose through stained teeth) Any dentists who thinks such a messup with fluoride medication in the water is ok is not a person I'd trust to get any other treatment from.
—Guest Andrea

One Word...

Pain!!! (It says my entry has to be at least 50 characters - now it is!)
—Guest Todd

Why are you afraid of the dentist?

PAIN! I have a very low tolerance for pain. I need the Novocaine injections but I find them agonizing. Once numb, I'm okay but I dread the pain of those shots. And of course how terribly expensive going to the dentist. I just cannot afford all the work I need done but mostly fear of pain!
—Guest Cecilia Height

A string of bad experiences...

When I was 19 & went to have a cavity filled, the dentist dropped the hot filling on my lip. He then cut a nerve to a tooth without my knowledge or permission and informed me that I needed a root canal and that he started it. A few years later, I had to have that tooth pulled. A different dentist cracked a bone in my jaw trying to pull the tooth, didn't bother to check that the tooth had long curling roots. Years later in the mid 80's a dentist popped a filling out of an abscessed molar, hit a nerve, (novacaine didn't work), I then began to gag with a apparatus in my mouth to hold my tongue to the side. When I jerked an instrument laying in my mouth sliced the back of my tongue. He called in nurses, who then physically held me down while he pulled an abscessed wisdom tooth and filled the molar. I felt everything! He called my home at 10pm that nite to tell hubby that I needed counseling because I had mental problems! Found out over the years, I was one of many victims!

oh her

Afraid?? well, at 85 and one is eventually told what the cost would be for the work (45K) who wouldn't be?
—Guest marj
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