• Dental Phobia Support

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Going to the dentist for the first time in 12 years and I have a lot of questions



Junior member
Dec 7, 2020
I've been told by several dentists that I have the most severe dental phobia they've ever encountered. I can't remember a single time I've ever been able to get through a dentist appointment without having to leave because of a panic attack besides when I was very very young.

I have an appointment at a sedation dentist on Tuesday to look at my teeth, and then they will put me under IV sedation for any actual work that needs to be done during a separate appointment. Do you think it will be possible for them to do that "looking" without the metal hook tool that they normally use? I'm okay with them feeling around with their fingers and looking with the little mirror. I'm even okay with the x ray machine. But I have sensory issues and as soon as they bring out that metal hook I start to hyperventilate. Just thinking about it makes me nauseous and teary-eyed.

I also have this fear that my teeth are too bad to fix. I can see some visible tooth decay in between my bottom front teeth near the gumline, and I just can't imagine how they'd be able to drill all of that out without the whole tooth just cracking. I'm really scared that I'm going to get there and be told that my teeth are so bad they'll just have to pull them out. I also feel really embarrassed and like they're going to shame me for not brushing properly.


Mar 26, 2018
Have you considered having nitrous oxide for your exam? I use it for my appointments for treatment and it really helps me relax.


Super Moderator
Staff member
Sep 18, 2017
Hi pomme310:welcome:,

it's good that you know what exactly causes you problems, in this case obviously the metal hook tool. It is called a dental probe and we know that many people who are phobic find this tool somewhat difficult. You definitely wouldn't be the first person asking them not to use it. Most dentists - particularly the ones working with phobic patients will be able to do an exam without it, particularly if you're fine with x-rays. If you get uneasy at the sight of it, perhaps a good idea would be to call your practice and ask them not to have it lying around in the first place.

Most people who see a dentist after a long time expect needing a lot of treatment, but dentistry is really amazing nowadays and a lot of teeth that look irreparable for us, can actually be saved. If any tooth needs to go, then this information should be given to you with a range of options about how to replace it and before you have decided what would you like to do, no treatment should take place. Remember that it is your teeth and you can always ask for some time to think about it and / or agree to only have done the parts of the treatment you feel confident about. You have the last word about what will be done and how.

Shaming of patients is not very cool nowadays, firstly because it is not professional and secondly because nobody wants to come back to a shaming dentist.. so if they treated you unkindly, you wouldn't want to come back.. but a practice without patients cannot survive long term...

All the best wishes