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So many "what if" scenarios putting me off going to the dentist



Well-known member
May 19, 2015
Thanks to the advice on this site I have managed to visit 2 dental surgeries and collect literature on their services.

I am now trying to work up the courage to make an appointment but my head is jammed with "what ifs". I am a very anxious person and I am fully aware that being in a dental chair is going to be a trigger for flashbacks of a violent event in my past. My main worries are that I will either vomit, faint, have a heart attack or the worst is that I will assault the dentist in a blind panic as I flashback (yes I find that one more scary than the thought of having a heart attack!).

I did speak to a Dental Nurse at one of the practices but I just couldn't articulate my fears - I muttered something about being anxious and they said "oh don't worry we deal with lots of anxious patients". I wanted to say "oh you haven't seen it all yet though!" but I just smiled and nodded like a simpleton.

I really, really want to get across to the potential dentist just how terrifying this is but seem to freeze up when they ask me what I am scared off. Can anyone advise how I could best do this? I want desperately to say to them, "please understand that I was the victim of a violent crime and as such this is going to be a very difficult thing for me" but I just can't seem to get it out.

Does anyone have any advice/experience? I want them to understand that this is more than just nerves but I don't want to go into detail.
I find that in those situations its best to bring someone who can explain them.
You can also write the dentist an email or a letter.
I don't have anyone in my circle of friends that is aware of the past so taking someone with me is not an option. Do you think an email/letter would be ok? I don't want to put the dentist off taking me on as a patient.
Lots of people write emails or send letters. If you'd prefer, you can write a letter and bring it with you for the dentist to read while you're there.
Thank you FearfulInMA, I honestly hadn't thought of sending an email. I plan to send an email in advance of my initial appointment and have spent the past few days trying to put everything down in a coherent manner. My main worry now is that the dentist reads this and then thinks, "what a nutter, this will be hard work!" however if they do think that then I will move on and find someone who will help, I know they are out there as the many success stories on here demonstrate that.
Yes. Exactly! If this particular dentist does not feel like s/he is the best person to treat you, you should continue to search for someone who can.

Please let us know how it goes!

I emailed first explaining my fears and the responses I got enabled me to visit a dentist for the first time in years! Definetly worth doing and welcomed I'd think by any decent dental practice.

good luck!
Thank you so much GettingThere, that makes me feel better.

I have now booked myself an appointment with a Dentist that has a special programme for nervous patients but unfortunately due to holidays the earliest appointment I could get in the end of June. But that gives me time to collate my thoughts. I have a draft email that I have been working on for the past 2 days and sometimes I read it and think "yes that covers it all" and other times I read it and think "oh crikey, this dentist will think I am a total head case" but if I don't send it then I could end up wasting time and money at the appointment.

"To get through the hardest journey we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep on stepping."