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Eyes open or shut?

During dental treatment, do you prefer to keep your eyes open or closed?

  • Eyes open

    Votes: 62 29.2%
  • Eyes closed

    Votes: 130 61.3%
  • Don't mind/don't know/depends

    Votes: 20 9.4%

  • Total voters
I keep my eyes closed and I'm fine with that! I had them open briefly yesterday before they gave me laughing gas and I saw tartar flying out of my mouth, not the nicest sight! Plus if I see what's coming towards my mouth I'd try and squirm away. So I'd say it's safer for me and the dentist if I keep my eyes closed (so I don't injure myself or make my dentist spray the water on the assistant, haha!)
When I get past the numbing stage and I feel confident nothing is going to hurt, I close my eyes and try to think of something else. ;D
I keep my eyes closed most of the time, but occasionally I open them to check things out because I although I am scared, I am also rather curious about what they are doing! I don't keep them open for long though, the masks freak me out a little. I'd much rather look at my dentist before and after treatment when the mask is off and I can see his lovely face ;)
I'm a control freak-type phobic, so I keep them open at all times in case I see anything happening I want to prevent.

The exception to the rule is during injections - I always squeeze them shut for that!
Definetly closed. It's bad enough I have to HEAR The Drill, I don't want to SEE it too. Closed especially when getting novocaine shots, don't want to see that come at me.
I like to keep my eyes ope, it would feel weird to me to have my eyes closed, dont know why, just would.
eyes open most definately i make my dentist tell me everything thats going on at all times no sneaking up on me my dentists used to it and carefully explains everything it makes me feel better if i dont know whats going on im worse !!!
Eyes closed...I cannot bear to see any of the instruments or needles, or drills. I will occasionally open my eyes for a split second only if they give me a break when doing my treatment.
Definately open! I'm already at such a (perceived) disadvantage being in the chair in the first place, I want to see what's going on around me!

I also tend to focus on a ceiling light or something like that.
Fair enough but even with my eyes open I rarely see anything very much...they usually approach from an angle and from below...things are not dangled in your face.....I'm good at looking at the ceiling too.....a parallel is at the hairdressers when they are cutting my fringe and ask me to close my eyes, I always want to open them before it's over....I don't have a problem trusting people I like at all but for me, I feel more in control and better able to object to something if my eyes are open.
I think it also signals to the dentist that they need to keep you in the communication loop....they can't behave as if you are not there. I hated it as a child when they would chat over you whilst working.

I also think you miss a lot of evidence of caring gestures if you keep your eyes closed.

I totally agree with Brit here. As a kid I always kept my eyes shut tight and never developed any sense of trust or rapport with the person treating me and now (for some reason) I prefer to keep them open, mostly because I don't like surprises but my dentist seems to really make an effort to show me more and explain more during the procedure. I also never see any of the instruments as she keeps them out of sight line and I even keep them open for the injection. She also seems to be more perceptive as to how I'm doing as she notices when I even startle slightly because I glance away, shut my eyes, break eye contact, etc...I have also had treatments with this same dentist with my eyes shut (I felt compelled to shut them for the entire visit, not sure why? typically I will if there is a lot of water involved because I feel like it's going to spray me in the face) but I noticed that she was much more likely to engage in conversation and build rapport with me as well as warn me of what was to come when my eyes were open and this is important to me as usually I really like to know what's going on.
As a kid I always kept my eyes shut tight and never developed any sense of trust or rapport with the person treating me and now (for some reason) I prefer to keep them open

Maybe a preference for eyes open or closed might, in some cases, also be due to trying to break past patterns? I'm just thinking that I always used to keep my eyes open during past bad experiences, and I found that closing my eyes instead was one of the things which helped make the new experiences as different as possible, and "break the pattern", so to speak.

Not that I came up with it myself - I actually read about someone closing their eyes on another forum and immediately thought that this was something which might help me (and it did).
That's an interesting observation Let's! You may be on to something there! =) It would be a natural instinct to change what's not working to seek more comfort in a situation....makes sense.
Definitely open ... I have to know what they are doing, even though it terrifies me. If you have your eyes closed, they could creep up on you with some awful pokey stick or another ;D
Can't say I know from experience, but I imagine I'd keep them open, but would avoid looking at the dentist for too long (cause I'd automatically assume that he would assume that I was looking at him in a way that questioned him, and he'd get offended, or something xD Ah, me and my quirky lack of social interaction skills!)

I watch when I get blood tests, and jabs and the like - I like to see what's going on. That's all I have to 'go' on, so far.

I imagine having my eyes open would make me feel more in control too, like if I saw something I didn't like, I could scoot up and be out quicker than if I had my eyes closed and didn't see it coming. Whatever 'it' is. Silly vulnerability-causing dentist chair xD Or insecurities. Or both.
keep mine open but look upwards so i cant see whats going on!!
That's an interesting observation Let's! You may be on to something there! =) It would be a natural instinct to change what's not working to seek more comfort in a situation....makes sense.

I had them open for bad experiences as well so no pattern reversal for me;).

I think it boils down to the fact that it's hard to like and trust someone if you
don't interact with them..it's harder for both parties to interact if one has their eyes firmly shut for most of the time....Stressdoc's point about shutting off one sense (vision) heightening another e.g. touch/pain..is also confirmation to me that 'eyes open' is an appropriate strategy to minimise discomfort.
What a great question!
I prefer to keep my eyes closed. When I first started with Dr. Katie, this was a natural result of the heavy dose of sedative I had as I usually fell asleep.
Even now that I no longer need such heavy medication, I still prefer to keep my eyes closed. It actually calms me. I dont see the needle or any other instruments and I like it that way.
When Dr. Katie is ready to start, she lets me know and I turn on my CD player and close my eyes. The familiar music is comforting and dulls the sounds of the instruments and shutting off the visual helps me stay calm. DR. Katie tells me everything she is doing so there are no surprises.
off-course open eye. I must knowing that what are they doing with my teeth. After all they are under my authority.
Eyes closed tightly. I hate seeing wat there doing