• Dental Phobia Support

    Welcome! This is an online support group for anyone who is has a severe fear of the dentist or dental treatment. Please note that this is NOT a general dental problems or health anxiety forum! You can find a list of them here.

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Never thought I had dental anxiety recently...



Junior member
Jun 12, 2015
Hi, I'm new here! And I've always thought my discomfort at the dentist was normal until recently.

First of all, I don't really feel anxiety before an appointment-- it's typically annoyance when they call me in on a short notice (which is why I never thought I had a problem). But once I get on the chair and they do work on me, that's when I feel nervous and exposed.

I figured out I probably have a problem during my last appointment, where I had really bad pain in my mouth for a week (to the point where I couldn't sleep). I had to get a root canal and the typical dental office I would go to wasn't open that day, so I was referred to a different place.

One major thing I noticed was that I can't look at the needle, so I always have to close my eyes. I can always feel the needle in the tissue of my mouth, and I can feel every minute movement the dentist's hand makes, and it makes me feel very nervous. I always freeze up and tense up and feel shaky because I'm so scared that the dentist will be an unexpected movement or that I will instinctively react to sudden pain by moving myself.

This always happens at the dentist for me, but what made me realize that I had anxiety was the fact that the staff at this office tried harder to calm me down than most places.

I could go on about this, but I want to make this as short as possible. In short, I'm very sensitive to certain stimuli during dental appointments (I'm autistic) and I'm always afraid that someone (whether it's me, the dentist, or the assistant) will make an unexpected movement leading to more pain. I've never thought that talking with your dentist about what makes you comfortable was a thing until I came across this site though, but I still find contacting them (whether by email or phone) rather unnerving too, as I do have social anxiety.

(I think I'm also a bit ashamed to admit to them that I'm scared, partially because this one assistant had teased me about seeming scared before and I don't know if she was joking or actually a bit annoyed. Back when my anxiety was a phobia as a little kid, I had to be restrained (but I remember nothing of those appointments) and after I stopped seeing that dentist, and the dentist would threaten to be send me back to the dentist with the restraints if I cried or moved too much.)

I... don't know exactly what I should do about this.
I think you have taken a great first step! Welcome! (I'm brand new here too and in just a day have found wonderful support and reading about others journeys has reassured me greatly). If you have no specific dentist that you currently prefer, looking for one that openly states they work with patients that have fears might be helpful. One thing that I have learned from others, my dentist and psychiatrist included, is that there are way more people out there with dental fears than you may realize. You are absolutely not alone in this and there is nothing wrong with you having fear. In my opinion, communication is critical. I understand that this might be super difficult for you, but maybe if you find the right dental team and the right way to communicate with them it will help. You could always talk with the hygienist or dentist, whomever, prior to even sitting in the chair about some of your triggers, you could write these down and ask them to read it. I have found that everyone that I have spoken with regarding my great fear and panic has been sympathetic and supportive. I hope that you can find a team that is also. Keep in touch!
The thing is, I'm not sure if certain issues could be resolved. The smell while they're doing work makes me either hold my breath for long periods of time and triggers gag reflexes.

But I guess it's worthwhile to write something up. I didn't think about that, thanks!
After many years I have a dentist appointment coming up on Tuesday and I am deathly afraid of the dentist and all things connected. I found a dentist office that specializes in sedation/sleep dentistry. They will sedate you for just about anything. Their website said you are a candidate for sedation dentistry if you are fearful, panic, don't like the smells and environment of a dentist office, afraid of needles, etc. It sounds like a dentist office like this might be beneficial to you too. I definitely wouldn't go to a dentist where the staff made fun of me for being afraid. Its a scary thing on its own and if you are made fun of once you get there, I think that is horrible and very unprofessional.

I know what a major accomplishment it was just for me to make up my mind I was going to the dentist and call for an appointment so I know it is important that I go somewhere I am comfortable. I am a grown woman and I honestly cried at the thought of going to the dentist.

Hope all goes well. Keep posting. I know it helps me a lot.
Thanks for the advice! I didn't know those places existed. I just hope my mom doesn't find it too troublesome to find a more supportive place.