• Dental Phobia Support

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Does this phobia ever go away?



Well-known member
Jul 22, 2012
New Hampshire, USA
Hi everyone,

I've been a member here for over 10 years. For the past 7 or so years, I have been doing very well. I go for cleanings 4 times a year. In general I am comofrtable at the office, and I can talk and even make jokes with the hygienist and the dentist.

I have an appointment in about a week for a cleaning and exam. I am used to having some anxiety, and I am used to having the dental nightmares because after all these years they still happen pretty regularly. I have never canceled an appointment or done a 'no show'.

My anxiety is up right now because last week I noticed a dark spot on one of my molars. I assumed it was a tiny piece of food which would get brushed away, but it's not. It's very small, like a pin prick, and I am freaking out thinking it's a cavity.

I know that logically a cavity is not that big of a deal and it's a minor procedure to get it corrected. But I do not feel logical at all when I think about it. I just start picturing the needle, and then imagining if I start crying in the chair, and feeling humilated and ashamed that I have decay inside me.

I hate that I still have this phobia. Anyone who knew about my past struggles assumes that I'm over it because of all the progress I've made, but it still makes me feel like I'm in a downward spiral. Either everything goes well and I feel OK or it's the worst thing in the world and I'm rotten and disgusting and pathetic- there is no in between for me. I have tried so hard to get over this fear and I do all the right things: I take care of my teeth, I go for regular cleanings and check-ups.

I really thought after so many years I'd be over this, but it never seems to go away.
@shamrockerin I am sorry you have to deal with this. I know what you mean, it isn't ones logical thoughts, the feelings, worries, and anxieties just happen and can take over. I think it is some kind of useless instinctual thing/trauma reaction/mind body connection thing, that doesn't do anything useful, it is just a pain. Like you, I am doing better with this stuff than I used to, but for me it hasn't gone away and I don't think it ever will. Maybe it does for some folks. I don't think dealing with dentists and dental things (or doctors and medical things) will ever be something that can be "normal" for me. I think this is really common. It sounds like you might be having a bad time in the run up to an appointment also, this is the worst time for me, it kind of helps for me just telling myself it will be over soon, and I will have some relief once the appointment is over. It is frustrating to have this phobia.