• Dental Phobia Support

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Need to visit the dentist but have severe needle phobia



Aug 24, 2017
Hi everyone,

This is my first post to this forum. I found it after searching different sedation techniques when going to the dentist.

I haven't been to the dentist in about 4-5 years. The last time I was there I had my first mouth injection which I remember being not as bad as I thought it would be but it's been so long that my anxiety is at an all time high again. That filling was great because the dentist I found was so supportive and was able to calm me down and keep me calm throughout the process. He even gave me a white filling for free to help reassure me that little bit extra (the filling was at the bottom near the front of the mouth so quite visible). However, the next time I went back to that dentist to get the rest of my treatment done (a few other fillings and a tooth extraction) he had left, and I was instead seen by a different man who had a lot less patience and basically spent the whole appointment making me feel so small as he x-rayed my mouth and saw all of the problems that I already knew were there. I was 17 at the time and the way he acted did not help with my phobia one bit so I decided not to go back.

A few years later my filling fell out and I was so shocked and upset but too scared to go back so I used a temporary fix which lasted for quite a while. However, it has now got to the point where I am trying so hard to work up the courage to go back to the dentist and just get all of this stuff fixed once and for all. As far as I can tell, I need one tooth extracted, at least 4 fillings and I also need to get the tooth with the temporary filling sorted out (although I don't know what their advice will be for this). I know that once my mouth is numb I will be fine and will be able to try and focus on something else, but the thought of having to have injections is what terrifies me. It scares me to the point where I will cry hysterically while wishing I was dead so that I don't have to go through any of this anymore.

I finally told my boyfriend what I was going through (after 3 years of hiding my smile properly and covering my mouth while laughing). He was actually quite shocked but has got completely behind me and wants to support me as much as he can, to the point of being there to tell any dentist who tries to belittle me that their approach isn't going to help at all. However, I am still completely terrified. I can't actually imagine being in the chair, and I especially can't imagine actually getting the injections done, or having my teeth sorted out!

Has anyone got any advice at all about helping with the injection phobia? I don't actually know how many I will need and that is something else that is worrying me at the moment. If I knew then I could try to mentally prepare myself beforehand so that it might be a little bit easier to deal with.

I have seen so many inspirational posts on here, and feel so proud of everyone who has managed to get through it because I feel like I am in the worst position and it is going to take a lot of bravery to get myself out of it. I honestly don't know how people manage to do this.

Hopefully sometime soon I will be able to smile with pride. I just need to get myself into the dentist's chair first!!
Haven't been to the dentist in over four years because of a needle phobia

I am 22 years old and extremely ashamed of my teeth. The last time I went to the dentist was over four years a go and now I am trying to work up the courage to go back because I cannot stand the way my teeth are anymore. I have numerous cavities which need to be filled, and a tooth that is so badly decayed that I know it will need to be pulled. I also have a filling that has fallen out of one of my teeth so I have no idea what they are going to do about that because it is very sensitive and sore so I do not know whether there is even more decay now or it will just need to be refilled.

My questions are:

1. how long do you think all this treatment could take? I am incredibly scared and would prefer that it was all done as quickly as possible but obviously I have no idea as it has been so long and I have never been to the dentist with this much work needed before.

2. How many injections of anaesthetic can you receive at once? I read somewhere that they do not like to numb both sides of your mouth but I know that I need work done on both sides and that if it can't be done at the same time it will prolong my experience.

3. When numbing the gums for a filling will they need to give an injection for each tooth or can one injection sufficiently numb a few teeth? (I have a few teeth next to each other that have cavities).

4. For an extraction can I just have local anaesthetic instead of intravenous sedation? I think I will be fine once the actual injection is over but would rather have another one in the gums instead of in the hand.

Any help and support would be greatly appreciated! I cannot wait until this process is all done and my teeth are no longer as sensitive/ painful.
Re: Haven't been to the dentist in over four years because of a needle phobia

Hi ab697
Is fear of pain your main reason for your needle phobia or is it something more involved? Lots of information here:

Dental injections can be given painlessly using a variety of techniques with a standard syringe as well as with gizmos like TheWand. Insertion of i/v cannula into back of hand likewise can be very atraumatic so sedation could work for you. Try to find a dentist who you like on a personal level who has good LA technique, ask people.

There are block injections which can numb a quarter of your mouth at once so no need for single tooth LA necessarily (I am not a dentist). You don't know how much work you need until you see maybe 1/2 dentists. Doing it at a slower pace would help you overcome your phobia...'familiarity breeds contempt' especially when empathetic high quality care is being experienced.

Update: I have just merged your 2 posts. if you are in the UK the way to avoid the dentist leaving and getting no continuity of care is to be on the patient list of a principal dentist/partner rather than Associate. It is easier to do this at a private/mixed NHS private practice rather than NHS only.
Once you find a dentist with good technique who you like and trust, stick with them.
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