Fear of Needles



Please help,

I have been suffering with tooth abcess on one particular molar for the past 7 years on and off. I have had antibiotics and never gone back to the dentists due to fear.

The tooth has broken to below the gum-line now and i almost constantly have an inflamation on the side of the tooth on the gum. Under my chin, below the tooth itself i can feel a "hard" lump that moves around under there.

I do not have a dentist as i have been taken off the list due to my own doing.

My GP says the tooth needs to be removed and i have heard that these problems can lead to Ludwigs Angina and other problems.

I am terrified of doctors, dentists , needles and such like.

I in the past have tried, valium, emla anaesthetic cream, hypnotherapy and not sleeping. To help with the fear.

I want to have the work done but i just cant face the needles.

Can you please shed some light on what maybe wrong with the tooth and lump, and also if there is a way of pain relief avoiding needles????

Im so scared and feel like a complete failure,

I am open to all ideas,

Please help :mad:


I wouldn't mind anyone else chipping in on this one, but thought I might mention some information on needle phobia. If you're terrified of needles in general (not just in a dental setting), the following site may be very useful:

[broken link removed]

There's a page on needle phobia on this site, but it's mostly a links page at this stage and sort of under construction:

[admin note: no longer under construction]

Using topical anaesthetic to numb the site before the local anaesthetic is administered, so that you can't feel the needle going in, can be a great help. Some people also find it helpful not to see the needle at all, while others find it more helpful if they can see and touch it first (or a combination of these, e. g. see and touch, but close eyes during actual injection). It can be helpful to have an appointment where you're given an injection only but no dental treatment, so that you only have to deal with one fear at a time. "Ask the Dentist to show you the needle (if you can cope). See if you can be given "the gel" which numbs the gum prior to an injection. Just have an injection without any treatment. Anything like this helps. Just prove to yourself that you can handle one aspect of your fears before addressing the next. " (that came from an ex-needle phobic).

Being given laughing gas before the injection can also help. If your needle phobia is more severe, and you're terrified of needles in general, but particularly in your mouth, laughing gas may relax you enough to accept IV sedation (in your arm or back of hand).

If you're scared of dentists/doctors "as people", it's particularly important that you build a relationship with them and like and trust them. I would always recommend setting up an appointment just for a chat, outside the chair (or even the treatment room, if possible), during which you discuss your fears and take it from there. It has often been said, and it's very true, that after this first meeting, you WILL know when you have found the right dentist for you. The two prerequisites on your behalf are
* a basic desire to do something about your phobia
* your ability to identify your fears and convey them to your dentist.

Dentists vary greatly in their ability to give painless injections - it's very much technique-dependent. Word-of-mouth is the best way of finding one who gives truly painless injections.
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To answer the easy one first, "What's wrong with the tooth?", the inside of the tooth where the "nerve" used to be is a dead space, which is now filled with bacteria munching away on the dead tissue and breeding like mad. Your body can't deal with the infection because there is no blood supply into the area because the nerve died. So there is a constant battle going on between the body's defence mechanism and the bacteria coming out of the tooth. Dentists would call this a chronic abscess. The lump is the body trying to wall off the chronic infection as best as it can.

The hard question now... needle phobia can be hard to get over, especially if it's been reinforced by some kind of traumatic incident in the past.

The advice you've received already is bang on (of course LC !) the only thing I could add to it is to consider finding a psychologist with a "tame" dentist they're used to working with, that can work well.