• Dental Phobia Support

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Junior member
Feb 19, 2015
Does anybody else have a fear of the metal clamp things they put on your teeth when you have fillings? I can't stand them and panic like mad feel like I can't breathe. :love:
Hi y'all! First post here.

Not a dental or medical professional, just have a lot of experience having dental work done over my life.

Regarding the clamp thingy...I'm not a fan of it, but as long as the area is anesthetized, I don't usually have trouble with it. Really, it's just the seating and release of the clamp that irritates me and it never hurts, just weird feeling. I call it the "Mouth Raincoat"...they really do need to come up with a better design to hold the plastic flappy thing in place, right??:cry:

If I was in your position and was having anxiety attacks about the clamp, I would tell my dentist and ask if she/he is opposed to doing the procedure w/o the clamp. If he/she says no, explain your anxiety about it...she may be able to suggest alternatives or offer sedation dentistry if you'd prefer. Also, I believe the "raincoat" is a provider preference...I've never had a "raincoat" used for a filling (only for root canals).. If it means anything to you, I believe they use the clamp and "raincoat" to keep the tooth they're working on clean and dry when it's critical and keeps any debris (old filling material, new decay being removed, etc) away from your mouth..
i have only gone to the dentist once in my life for fillings but recently i have to go alot more but about the metal clamp thing no need to be scared of it all it does is makes it so you dont close your mouth accidently and bite the dentists fingers off :)
@binks I suffer severe anxiety got all the way to the metal clamp and could not finish. Don’t know what to do as only have temporary filling in now
@binks - do you mean the clamp on the rubber dam or the ring thing which they put round the tooth they are filling?
Ah I sympathise - I cannot bear anything alien in my mouth. I have only had the rubber dam once and it was on 6LR or a filling which actually wasn't so bad. The metal ring thing with the handle I do not like but I just try to think of something else whilst she is fitting it. I hate not being able to swallow properly and get really panicky.
I don’t like it because both dentists I went to recently, my gums were cut up afterward. I don’t have gum disease at all so it wasn’t due to that

Just took some healing of the gums for a few days afterwards which made me anxious!
@Bridget Do dentists use clamps more now than they used to? I went recently to a private dentist for a filling and was overwhelmed by the number of clamps used - at least 4 or 5 - plus a rubber sheet. It was so traumatic I couldn't go through with the filling. I am wondering if an NHS dental filling would actually be less traumatic. Do NHS dentists use less clamps?
@binks I went to a private dentist recently for a filling and they used 4 or 5 clamps plus the rubber sheet. It was very traumatic, a feeling of being out of control. I don't remember the NHS dentist using that many. Have dentists started using more?
I can relate. I had 12 appointments, survived a root canal, dental impressions, crowning, bunch of fillings, but had one occasion where we had to interrupt the treatment and postpone it to another day, and that was due to the metal clamp. Once my tongue touched it, I could not take my mind off it, started worrying, then it turned to panicking and gagging. I was very disappointed, because it was not even a tooth very far in the back. The use of it was necessary, because the cavity was on the side.

The solution? I just took more sedative (xanax/alprazolam) next time. I started with 0.5mg, but I was told it's a child dose, and upped to 1.25mg. It's the sweet spot for me, it worked wonders. I was still stressed quite a bit, but I never panicked out ever again.