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Dental Anxiety: You're Not Alone

Dental Anxiety: You're Not Alone

Who likes going to the dentist? I don't like going whatsoever, and I even asked my dentist if she likes to go and she admitted that it's not always fun, but it is necessary. So we force ourselves to go, but many of us may not like it one bit.

Some people on the other hand have such severe fears and anxieties about going to the dentist, that they won't even go. Here are some common reasons people won't go to the dentist:

  • Fear of pain.
  • Fear of needles.
  • Fear of the Novocaine and going numb.
  • Fear of NOT going numb - what if the Novocaine doesn't work?
  • They're worried about what may or may not happen - fear of the unknown.
  • Fear of the drill and things near their mouth and brain.
  • The scraping and drilling sound.
  • Bad past experiences.
  • They're worried about receiving bad news.
  • They're embarrassed or ashamed of their teeth and worried the dentist will make fun of them.
  • Fear of gagging, choking, or throwing up.
  • Fear of panicking or crying.
  • The cost. Even with dental insurance, the bill can be excruciatingly high.

If these sound familiar, you're not alone. Many people suffer from dental phobia or dental anxiety so much that they refuse to step foot in an office. This can be detrimental to a person's pearly whites. Want to know how to get over your fears? Then

If you are paralyzed by the mere thought of going to the dentist, there are a number of things you can do.

  • Identify what your specific fears are and try not to dwell on them. Then you and your dentist can figure out ways to deal with them.
  • Find a caring and compassionate dentist that makes you feel comfortable. Explain all your fears and map out what your perfect dental visit would be like. Get recommendations from friends or co-workers for dentists they like.
  • Some dentists may recommend that you take anti-anxiety medicine (like Xanax) the night and or a few hours before your visit. It will help you to feel calm and relaxed.
  • Your dentist may also recommend Nitrous Oxide. It's a gas you inhale that puts you in a state of ultimate relaxation and contentment. Just like with the anti-anxiety meds, this method won't do anything for pain, so if you need to be drilled, you'll still need to get a shot of Novocaine, but you may feel less anxious about it.
  • Another option is IV Sedation. You basically get anti-anxiety drugs administered into the bloodstream. You'll remain conscious and be able to understand and respond to requests from your dentist, but you may not remember much of what happened while you were in the chair. Time will feel like it passes quickly, almost like you were asleep.
  • If you are literally crippled by the anxiety, you may be a candidate for General Anesthesia.

Being fearful of dental visits is not at all uncommon, but at some point you will need to face your fears. You can't go through your life not seeing a dentist, and the longer you put it off, the more problems you can have. I hope these ideas help.


Join The Conversation
-Maryan- -Maryan- 9 years
When I was younger I was scared of going to the dentist, but now I just love to go there...I don't know why, maybe it's because of the smell-I love it!!
lily3484 lily3484 9 years
i dont really have any major fears or anxieties about the dentist but I do absolutly hate the sounds! My dentist recommended bringing my Ipod to drown out the sound and let me tell you it makes a world of difference!
remedios remedios 9 years
The noise...THE NOISE!!! That horrible horrible noise of the scrapy scrapy thing. **shivers** That and the pain involved. They've used the water pic thing before, and that's a lot better. But I have super sensitive teeth. I can't eat or drink anything on the right side of my mouth because of the sensitivity. I used to be great in the chair until a dentist decided to fill in a cavity without numbing my mouth at all. When I protested, he finally agreed but didn't wait until my mouth was fully numb. I didn't go to a dentist for a few years after that.
beautiful1nes beautiful1nes 9 years
I don't mind the dentist I go twice a year for the check ups and cleanings. The one thing I can't stand tho is when they get that scraper hook thing out then go to town on your teeth. Well the often get my gums with the dam hook which makes them bleed. Then the dentist says your gums are bleeding you have sensitive gums! like wtf their gona bleed if you stab them let me stab your gums and see if the don't bleed! LOL I actually said that too!
sugar_me_sweet sugar_me_sweet 9 years
i hated gettin my wisdom pulled out. they strapped my arms down on the chair and told me to open my mouth wider while i was messed up on some drugs they gave me. you cant eat before the surgery, so after the surgery they tell you to take vicodin and i ended up throwing up because i didn't have food in my stomach. how can you eat when your face is all swollen from surgery? worst experience ever. still went back to the dentist though. you have to tough it out and go.
prinzes3006 prinzes3006 9 years
uuughhh! I'm going to have my wisdom teeth pulled soon. I'm so scared.
kendalheart kendalheart 9 years
Going sucks but love the feeling of clean teeth after!
californiagirlx7 californiagirlx7 9 years
I was afraid of the dentist when I was little and then I got used to it. Now that I go to a dentist for adults and they use novocaine (we used laughing gas when I was a kid and I never felt pain), I'm so scared because my novocaine never kicks in all the way or it takes forever to work. It is sooo painful.
sittingonawall sittingonawall 9 years
I have the most severe fear of needles. Not so much of injections ig I grit my teeth I get through that fine but getting blood drawn is an absolute nightmare. Even thinking about it gets me running around the room. It'S surreal. I also can't hear about bloodcells and so on in biology or at the doctors, funnily enough seeing blood is fine.
nikecold nikecold 9 years
I've never understood why people are so afraid of the dentist. Maybe because I had braces for 4 years, so I really had no choice. The only thing I'm not looking forward to is having my wisdom teeth pulled.
cjmara805 cjmara805 9 years
Haha I love going to the dentist, my teeth are soo clean afterwards!
Sofiababy Sofiababy 9 years
EEP mee too elle! i better get put down for that. im not kidding!
i-am-elle i-am-elle 9 years
I'm not too scared of the dentist, I just hate it when the hygienist does that "scaling" stuff on my front bottom teeth. Remember to floss ladies!! I have to get my wisdom teeth out soon, so I am worried about that. :(
Sofiababy Sofiababy 9 years
topical anesthesia NEVER works right with me-- i always feel something! my dentist even waits forever for it to kick in. I'm still not scared to go though. luckily i don't get cavities if i go often-- i've had one and never again!! &i love the "dentist clean" feeling. theres nothing like it! dont worry blair bear! is it because you're shy or they make you feel bad? some people have thin enamel and that is SO not your fault! well if anyone's worried what they may think-- my cousin is a dental assistant and he says they've seen it all-- some people who have never been to the dentist before, do certain drugs, or have advanced eating disorders-- and its still not something they're unprofessional about or haven't seen before! plus, the more you go the less scary bc you prob wont have any cavities to worry about =)
BlairBear BlairBear 9 years
No, there is no need to worry but some of the dentists can just be real a-holes! That's why I didn't go for so long.
lemassabielle lemassabielle 9 years
I'm not very afraid of dentist after having to go through the pain of braces. You really can't feel the needles at all. Dentist have went to school for many years and know what their doing, so there really is no need to worry.
tati33 tati33 9 years
True Ducks.. But I don't like the massive scraping :(
ClassicsDiva ClassicsDiva 9 years
I think it also depends on the dentist you go to. Sure, there are some things that are unpleasant no matter how skilled the dentist is, but a lot of bad experiences aren't because there's anything wrong with you or your teeth, but because the person doing the work is inept. So if you're quaking in your boots because of past unhappy experiences, ask yourself if said experiences went badly because of the nature of the problem, or because some idiot dentist screwed up. If it's the latter, get yourself a new dentist.
ducks ducks 9 years
I've had horrible things happen while in the chair and I don't have any fear. I think once you've had real health crises in other areas the dentist becomes nothing.
BlairBear BlairBear 9 years
I was seriously afraid of dentists and didn't go for 6 years. Then one of my molars broke and was really painful so I had to go. I got recommendations from people that work with my husband and went. The dentist was amazing, I needed a root canal and a crown plus a couple fillings. I actually like going now, he has totally made me feel better. He listened to me and didn't make me feel bad about my teeth. Plus, he's really gentle and very funny.
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