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How have other phobics overcome this terrible dentist fear



Junior member
Oct 11, 2019
Herts UK
First time posting here & even this (opening up) is making me nervous.
I have a terrible fear. Haven't seen a dentist in years (so many I'm just far too ashamed to even admit) but I do want to overcome this. As a 4 year old I had all 4 of my front teeth taken out in one session and I think this set in place a lifetime of fear.
Determined to not let my own children grow up with this fear they've all seen a dentist regularly from the age of 2 and I have always sat with them in the room (cowering in the corner) putting on a brave face trying to hide my true feelings. Thankfully none of them have ever needed anything drastic doing so I feel I must have done something right at least. As for me I just feel shame. I don't know who to talk to or how to even begin to think & feel differently. What steps could I, should I, take to learn to overcome this rather dominating fear?
Hello Lizzie and welcome to the forum! Just to reiterate you are not alone and are among many friends here. My advice is as I followed a couple of years ago; firstly search out online any practices that look welcoming and especially any that express a great interest in supporting those with dental phobia. Having found some of interest, email or phone and be honest with the staff at how you are feeling at the outset; I myself have been overwhelmed at what lovely people in the business I have met over the past few years; the passion that has been shown has been legendary. If your phobia is quite acute, I would strongly recommend meeting any prospective dentist for a chat in a room other than the surgery; chances are if you like the person, as if on a date, things will work out very favourably as a result. You and I have both seen what things were like in the bad old days of the seventies and eighties; I would like to reassure you that dentistry is nothing like that now; tools are smaller and quieter than they used to be; most places try and make their surroundings as pleasant and unclinical as possible. You will rarely find a dentist wearing a white coat these days; the trend is for different coloured tunics that resemble a spa or hairdresser; the ethos these days is to care and inspire rather than treat and punish. Moreover, it is also always remembering that you are the paying customer and it is your mouth at the end of the day; you call the shots! I found my first successes thanks to this site and so recommend looking at the listings on here as a good start; there are a few for Hertfordshire listed I believe. Anyway, good luck and hope things go well for you. If you want to chat further my screen is always open....... Simon (Surreyvwphobic) (PS You might want to read my journals titled "Smiles Better" and "Enhanced Dentistry" to see how I did it)
Hi Lizzydripping :welcome:,

well done on posting here, we all understand that writing about the fear of the dentist can be almost as scary as seeing one, especially if you are at the very beginning of your journey!
You are not alone with this and feeling shame is so common, We have an article about shame and embarrassment here on the page and would you believe that it is the most read article here?
The whole work and content of this page and forum is all about how to overcome this fear and find a gentle way back to dental care so if you take a look around, you will surely find a lot of advice and also inspiration from people who "made it", like Surreywphobic. I think the most important part is going at the pace you feel comfortable with and indeed finding a kind caring dental professional who will be ready to help.

All the best wishes
I found knowing what my triggers are specifically help me in understanding and attempting to overcome. I’m better but it’s still a struggle.

i have terrible anxiety with both drs and dentists. It all stems from my pediatrician. So I’ve had it as long as I can remember. I tell each provider (even the nurses) that I struggle with anxiety. Just saying it out loud helps me.

at the dentist while I don’t enjoy any aspect (cleaning, xrays, treatment) for me it’s the emotions. The dread of hearing bad news. The shame and embarrassment of being told I need work done. For me though I remind myself no LIKES to get bad news. No one LIKES to have dental work done but we do it because having healthy teeth is important

lastly there have been two times in my life that I let my anxiety win and I didn’t go to the dentist for years. Once it was about 12 years. After 12 years I went back because now I was a mother and wanted to set a good example. Much to my surprise after 12 years I didn’t need any work done. No cavities etc. then time went on, we moved and I let 4 years go by. This time I was not so lucky. Ended up having 10 cavities. So now I never let myself or my kids miss an appointment because that grows my anxiety.

reading stories here has been tremendously helpful. Knowing you are not alone in your fears helps.

good luck. We are all rooting for you!

Let me first recommend visiting my website treatyourdentalfear.com where you can find videos about dental fear. In the near future I will make some more so stay tuned.
I would also like to suggest an idea not mentioned in my videos yet: meeting a dentist/s face to face outside of a dental practice, just for a chat. It is not an easy thing to do, not only because of your fear but also not all dentists will be willing to do so, but from my experience this is the best way to overcome the initial difficulty for stepping into the treatment room as a patient.
Do you think it is a suitable and doable goal for you?
I been going to the dentist for years, but still have fear

I have found a good dentist which has helped, she been my dentist for the last 6 years. and I see her more often due to having a small mouth and big teeth
I started going to the dentist again semi recently. My husband comes to my appointments because I also had bad experiences as a child. With a family member there I feel safer because I feel like they are making sure everything is on the up and up and helping have my back. My other advice is to just drive in. Find a good dentist and rip the band-aid off. Just had four wisdom teeth removed and was soooo scared but it was actually an empowering experience. You are braver than you give yourself credit for and you can do it! Best of luck to you:grin:
I'm still working on my phobia, which resulted from a traumatic childhood experience at the dentist. My first childhood dentist was downright abusive, in my opinion, and should not have worked with children if he was going to react as angrily as he did.

I later went to another pediatric dentist, Dr. W, who was the father of a classmate/friend and he was quite kind and willing to work with me. When I became too old to be a patient at his practice, I started going to the same dentist my mom and sister went to. Dr. C was my favorite dentist I've ever been to and had such a kind, gentle, patient manner. He often wore jeans and cowboy boots with his white coat, which I liked. I thought it made him seem more personable. Dr. C was wonderful, but had to retire early due to health problems and later passed away. I then went to my dad's dentist, Dr. L, and I liked him well enough, but he too retired early so he and his wife/fellow dentist could travel.

Now I am with the dentist who took over Dr. L's practice. He's much younger- about my age - and his daughter goes to school with my 13-year-old niece. He's nice enough, I suppose, but I don't feel as comfortable with him. He doesn't have the chairside manner my two previous dentists did and I get the impression he and his staff - some of whom stayed on after Dr. L retired - don't have the patience to deal with someone like me.

It's frustrating because I wish I could find a dentist who's as kind and patient as my two previous dentists. I think it all boils down to finding a practitioner with whom you feel comfortable and who genuinely seems to care about making you feel less anxious, rather than seeming impatient and making you feel as though you're crazy for being scared.

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