Too nervous for the Dentist?

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Too nervous for the dentist?         



Being too nervous for the dentist can be described as; Dental phobia which is the fear of dentistry and receiving dental care. It affects people differently. Phobia is a form of anxiety, and varies from person to person, in its intensity. There are also many reasons for it occurring.

Dental Phobia may cause your dental health to deteriorate, as you will put off making an appointment. Even though avoiding going to the dentist altogether, may stop your anxiety. It will add to your problem.

Being too nervous for the dentist, is not uncommon, your dentist is aware that anxiety and fear are the main barriers to you accessing care and they strive to ensure they support your needs, including referral for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).



Why do you fear going to the dentist?                                                   images-8

There are a variety of reasons here are a few:

  • Having previous painful, or unpleasant experience of dental treatment.
  • Hearing stories of other people’s unpleasant or traumatic experiences.
  • Feeling vulnerable and unable to escape. Not being in control of your experience whilst in the dentist’s chair.
  • Sometimes there are other fears that can be transferred to the dental experience, such as a fear of needles and injections, the sound of the dentist’s drill, having an anaesthetic or x-rays.
  • You may worry about what the dentist may think of you. You may believe that they see you as; silly or being too awkward. You may feel embarrassed that you’ve avoided going to the dentist for so long that now your teeth and gums are in a poor state.

You may have a reason that has not been listed, but that doesn’t mean it’s not valid, as it stops you from seeking the support you need.

Why has it become such a problem?

It may have become a problem because your mind has linked a negative experience and associated it with being at the dentist. Because you have the ability to anticipate, you will, recall past experiences and project them on to future events.

You may have heard negative stories from friends and family and place yourself in that situation, you then believe the same could happen to you.


What is fear and anxiety?


Should you find yourself in a situation where you feel threatened or in imminent danger you will experience fear! Anxiety symptoms are your body’s natural reaction to fear. Anxiety triggers a response from your body to prepare you to fight, run away (flight) or freeze (to allow the danger to pass).

This system is said to have been inherited from our ancestors who lived in much more hostile environment, such as being attacked by wild animals.

This response causes the body to produce the adrenaline, which is a hormone that causes the anxiety symptoms you experience.

Symptoms may include; a racing heart, rapid breathing, tense muscles, dry mouth, churning stomach, sweating or feeling cool.

As a result you may become more focused on the problem (Dentist) and other things are not given so much attention (your dental needs). These are all normal responses, once the danger or threat has passed, the body returns to normal.

You do not actually have to be in a threatening situation to have this experience. You only have to think or imagine the dentist and the response will be the same. Dental phobia can play such a disruptive role, as the perceived threat can be disproportionate to the actual event/ situation, causing your anxiety symptoms to become even more unpleasant:

Sweating profusely, trembling, weak legs, Stomach churning



This vicious cycle maintains the dental phobia. Naturally you would want to avoid the dentist completely. But this makes it more difficult for you manage your dental health. The use of CBT will help with this.

Part 2: coming next week.


For further information;

Complete the registration form on the right of the screen, or, call: 0789 1890 222 to book your free consultation.


  1. Dianne Collins on 23rd December 2015 at 6:13 pm said:

    Hi Omisona,

    I found the article about dentist phobia interesting, as for many decades I suffered from this. Of course my teeth suffered as well. I realized over a year ago I had to get over this fear. It started when I was a child, my mother told the dentist not to give any anaesthesia for fillings. My mother never had anaesthesia. So you can imagine visiting the dentist was agony, my stomach would churn over. Some years ago I discovered I was allergic to the anaesthetic that had adrenaline in it. This put me off even more about going to the dentist. About a year ago I had to go to the dentist and as I sat in the waiting room my hands were gripping the arms of the chair. I suddenly noticed this and realized, I had to change my behaviour. So I loosened my grip of the chair arms and be came aware of my breathing. I told the dentist about my fear and why I had it and my allergic reaction. So I go to the dentist every three months (as I do not have a salivary gland on the left side of my face hence I get more tartar on my teeth)now and I have no fear. So it is being aware of my behaviour, realising it wasn’t the dentist fault and explaining to the dentist of my fear and why I had it and finally scheduling frequent check-ups to head off any problems with my teeth.

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