• 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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What caused your fear or phobia?

What caused your dental phobia or fear?

  • A single traumatic experience at the dentist

    Votes: 14 14.3%
  • A number of traumatic experiences at the dentist

    Votes: 52 53.1%
  • Dentists can't get me numb

    Votes: 15 15.3%
  • Comments made by a dentist or hygienist (humiliation)

    Votes: 35 35.7%
  • Feeling powerless in dental situations

    Votes: 46 46.9%
  • Parents or caregivers being scared of the dentist

    Votes: 16 16.3%
  • Hearing horror stories from other people

    Votes: 22 22.4%
  • Movies or media portrayal of dental treatment

    Votes: 11 11.2%
  • Other traumatic experiences, including abuse

    Votes: 24 24.5%
  • Generally high levels of anxiety

    Votes: 49 50.0%
  • Emetophobia (fear of vomiting)

    Votes: 9 9.2%
  • Parents or caregivers instilling feelings of guilt about dental health

    Votes: 18 18.4%
  • Other (you can leave a post in this thread)

    Votes: 14 14.3%
  • No real reason/don't know

    Votes: 5 5.1%

  • Total voters


Staff member
Jan 1, 2005
What caused your fear or phobia? Vote in our poll (multiple choices allowed)! You can also post in this thread.
Mine stemmed from having a tooth pulled when I was 16.

No matter how much the dentist tugged + pulled, the tooth would only break bit by bit.. and it hurt. Alot. I was always in contrl (I could say OWWWWWWWWWWARHGHGHGH!!! SOTPP!PP!! and he'd stop ;)),but to get the job done, I had to go to a Tooth Hospital.

Turns out the roots of the tooth were wrapped around the roots of another. Doh!
Needless to say, I voted Pain in https://www.dentalfearcentral.org/forum/threads/whats-your-worst-fear.9193/ :p

I'm all better now thanks to the DentalFearCentral Forum - thanks guys! ;) But still visit, because a) The community is funky, and b) I try to help. :p

And that's my story for the day!
Last edited by a moderator:
Cheers ;D (funky community? Sounds good :party:)! And many thanks for dropping in and helping out - it is much appreciated :thumbsup:!!
well it seems every dentist ive ever been to dosent want to listen to me when i was 10 went to get a tooth pulled to make room for more and when i said i wasent numb he was still working anyways without any extra lidocane/xilocane/whatever and was yelling at me and telling me it was only the pressure also i like to know whats happening about ever step of the proccess for just about anything being done to me medical/dental and when i went to a dentist after my 1st decayed tooth broke the guy would just jab his fingers in my mouth pick around talk to his assitant after i repeatedly asked what are you doing it just seems the ones ive been to are sadistic or dont care and need to find a new proffession
For me it was repeated incidents of not being properly frozen, so that alomost EVERY time I needed a filling I was in agony. My current dentist told me that I wasn't supposed to be feeling pain, that I was not crazy, but simply had differently aligned nerves. Lower teeth in particular don't get numb.
when i was 12 the dentist said i needed a tooth out so he sat me down jabbed the needle in and pulled it with an abcess ! he said it was my own fault becouse i didnt look after them and during that night it bled and i had to keep spitting out blood. after that when i was married i saw a private dentist who according to my hubby was a butcher . but the dentist who pulled the tooth has definetly made me feel like this. now if only i could find him :devilish: only joking !
I'm still unsure of the reason for my fear. Not sure how I got it, it's just always sorta been there, never remember not being scared actually, I've always just thought I must've been born with it...

Although my mom tells me that my very first appt ever when I was about 2 or 3 was absolutley horrendous and she's shocked we didn't get kicked out of the practice. I don't remember it, but my sister and mother do and they say I was soo upset over it and wouldn't let them near me and actually made myself sick. And I was always considered a calm, easy-going child and still am calm and easy-going so it had to have taken alot to trigger something like that, just wish I knew what it was that had set me off. Following that I had a lot of work done in that office on my front teeth from baby bottle tooth decay when I was three and don't recall any of that really either, some bits and pieces but hardly anything which I find a bit odd seeing I had 4 front top teeth pulled, two front teeth capped, and lots of fillings and then sealants (which I also recall not letting them near me for as well) and I had nitrous for the extractions. Although I am really sensitive now about having any work done at all on teeth near the front of my mouth so it might tie back to that somehow? Who knows!
I've never had a fear of the dentist or the pain or procedure or sound of the drill, etc. It was because one time the lidocaine set off a massive panic attack in me. As a panic attack sufferer for many years, that was enough to keep me from dreading going back.
I would have to say alot of my fear was because every time I saw a dentist I needed more elaborate work done. I'm talking major oral surgery. Then in my early 20's I was told "oh, you will need full dentures by your 40's, that definite, not doubt about it". But he literally laughed as he said it.

That ballooned into me not seeing a dentist for about 8 years (already knowing I needed tons of work done BEFORE I stopped going). Then that fear ballooned into me being terrified to open my mouth to ANY dentist. (ashamed)
When i was about 8 years old i had to have 12 healthy milk teeth removed because of overcrowding (which I am extremely grateful for now).  At the time i was petrified.  I can remember hanging onto the door of the dental surgery and the nurse physically lifted me into the chair and held me down.  Then the anethasist (can'tspell that word) held the mask down on my face while i was kicking and screaming, a big black rubber mask and the smell was awful, sickly sweet.

The whole room started to spin and then i passed out.  When i came round i was in recovery, on a bed, the pillow which should've been white was bright red with the blood out of my mouth, i was choking on it, being sick it was awful.  As i left to go home, i remember the nurse giving my teeth to me in a jar and said don't worry, thi8nk of the money you'll get from the tooth fairy. :shame:

I am now grateful to my parents for putting me through this treatment and extra orthodontic surgery in my teens, coz now i have a smile to be proud of, but that experienced triggered some of my phobias and it's probably something i'll never forget either.
My dental phobia was caused by a bad experience when I was 8 years old. I was living in another state back then and I needed 3 fillings. They were my first fillings and I didn't even know what getting fillings involved, and for some reason my parents weren't with me while I was getting them done. The dentist I had was nasty; she should not have been doing dentistry on children or anyone! She did all three fillings one after the other with NO anaesthetic. She didn't give me a break at any stage and she didn't have an assistant. She had my mouth stuffed with cotton wool and she was holding the drill and the sucker machine at the same time. I was in pain, especially since one of the fillings was very deep, almost to the nerve. Yet when I was whimpering from the pain she just yelled at me and kept drilling. She snapped and yelled at me the entire time. I was rather traumatised from that experience. I was phobic for at least 10 years. The phobia mostly went away when I faced my fear by getting another filling done at age 18. I had a wonderful dentist who was gentle, friendly and compassionate. He used anaesthetic (I like to have LOTS!) and explained every step of what he was doing, and if I wanted him to stop drilling, he would stop. I also had my sister with me in the room. After that I realised that getting a filling was not paramount to torture, and I was ok, though I'm not completely over being anxious about dentists.
I've always been afraid of going to the dentist and needing lots of work done on my teeth... but I was never terrified until it was time to have my wisdom teeth out. The right top one broke and the dentist said it had to come out, and he pulled it out in about five minutes - it was so easy that I thought 'what's all the fuss about?' and I let him tell me that the two on the other side had to go too... then came the appointment and the bottom tooth didn't want to come out! He poked and prodded and pulled for so long that the injections were wearing off and I was freaking out from having his hands in my mouth so long... and I said 'stop it now! I can't take it! I'll come back another day for you to do the other tooth,' and he said 'just a minute longer' and yanked the second tooth out in five seconds flat, but I'd moved my head so I was shoved back against the edge of the stupid headrest and that was the finishing touch...
I'd really liked and trusted that dentist, but after that I never went back to that dentist again... he left and another dentist took over the practice and I saw her once, but I couldn't even stand to be in the same room where I'd had the bad experience, and I didn't go back again. I went to another dentist instead, and now I have major panic issues about having anyone touch my mouth :(
I was OK at the dentist till I was 16. I'd gone to get my front tooth crowned which I'd knocked the corner off some years prior. I wasn't too keen on the dentist and was less keen when not a word about my front tooth being crowned, but I needed a couple of fillings (or so he said - didn't trust him). He filled one of my top teeth then proceeded to fill one of my lower teeth - and he dropped the drill and it caught the inside of my lower lip :mad: He muttered apologies and carried on. I let him finish the fillings and as he was removing whatever from my mouth...I bit him :devilish:

I just said "Oops. Sorry". My Mum was with me and she knew I was angry so she asked when I'd get my front tooth crowned. He told her maybe in 6 months - 1 year's time. To this day I'm convinced I didn't need those fillings and that dentist probably did more in the long run to damage my teeth and confidence with dentists than anything else. We never went back. We found a really good dentist who did a fantastic job of crowning my front tooth. Incidentally, that crown lasted over 30 years before it had to be replaced 3 years ago :)
I've been extremely afraid of all things dental since I was a child and had a root canal. It took two adults to hold me down in the chair. My Mother also liked to take it upon herself to remove any teeth that she deemed "loose". She would check my teeth, find a loose tooth and then get the dental floss and pull it out for me. :shame: It got to the point that I would cower in fear anytime a toothpaste commercial came on because I thought it might put an idea into her head. :hidesbehindsofa:
That must have been horrible for you :XXLhug:

My Mum always made my brother and I clean our teeth properly and made sure we had regular visits to the dentists as kids as she lost her teeth when she was only 39 (same gum disease as I have) and wanted us to have our teeth longer than she did. My brother still has most of his teeth and at 56 his teeth still look really nice. I've at least made it to 50 with probably just under half of mine (some due to go in the bin) so her making us look after our teeth as kids has probably paid off to some extent. As a kid I remember when my teeth used to go loose. Eventually they got to the stage where they were just hanging by a thread and the thought of the tooth fairy used to be enough to see me sit a whole afternoon twisting the loose tooth this way and that until it came out.

Mum never had a problem getting me to go to bed on those nights ;)
Yeah my Mother has a lot to do with my dental phobia.

Your Mom sounds awesome and I'm encouraging my two children to care for their chompers as well. They don't see brushing as a chore and when the oldest lost her first teeth this summer it was by her own hand and let me tell you she was so proud of herself. :)
My fear of dentists came when I was 16 years old. I went to a dentist to have a cavity filled. Well---he only held the lidocaine or WHATEVER topical stuff on my gums for a count LITERALLY of ONE, TWO!! Pulled it off, put the needle in my gums!!! :o Needless to say, it HURT BAD!!!!!! I started crying big time!! The dentist then started to LAUGH AT ME!!! :o He called me a "BIG BABY!!" He took the needle OUT of my mouth, shoved it infront of my face, and said, "THE NEEDLE ISN'T EVEN IN YOUR MOUTH ANY MORE AND YOU ARE STILL CRYING!!! BIG BABY!!!" Then he started laughing AGAIN, and jabbed the needle BACK into my gums AGAIN, which of course, HURT AGAIN, and it was AWFUL!!!! After THAT visit, I did NOT go to a dentist for 20 YEARS!!!! Now I have a WONDERFUL General Dentist and a WONDERFUL Oral Surgeon!!! :jump:
Well he should certainly be honoured for services to his profession then! Unbelievable. Don't know how such people stay in business. :grouphug:
I can't stand to be restrained. That's pretty much it. I also have panic attacks in the chair, severe ones, that cause to shake and feel sick. I have a severe phobia of needles, enough that if I see one, or even hear about one, I begin to panic. I've also heard far too many horror stories of fillings and crowns just 'falling off' for no apparent reason.
Hi there, new here!
I found this forum because I was looking for some comfort before this afternoon's root canal. It will be the first procedure done since I developed dental phobia 5 months ago. I'm absolutely terrified since an extremely traumatic wisdom tooth extraction back in October. As a background, I am almost 30 years old and have 5 baby teeth still left in my mouth. The permanent teeth are up there, but are stuck behind bone. My parents could not afford orthodontics and extractions when I needed it (age 10-12), and I am now paying the price and biding my time until my baby teeth decide to fall out and I'm left without teeth to fill their spots. I had 2 of the 4 bony impacted wisdom teeth pulled in October (couldn't afford all 4 at the same time) at my local dental school (big mistake), and opted for IV sedation (fentanyl and versed) as well as local anesthetic. All I remember is becoming fully awake/aware and un-numb as the student was calling for the professor to "please come assist her...this tooth is stuck". The professor came over and started digging, tugging, prying shards of my tooth out and telling me to "stop yelling so loudly, you're scaring the other patients!". He informed me that they had given me the max dosage of the sedatives and anesthetic and that I should "tough it out, we're almost done" or "close up and come back another day". I chose to "tough it out", went home and swelled up so badly, that I couldn't open my left eye for 4 days. On day 3, I developed "dry socket" and wished for a quick painless death. The other 2 wisdom teeth were due to come out this month but, as far as I'm concerned, they can rot up inside my head for the rest of my life. The only reason I am forced to go in for a root canal today is that I have an abscess around the nerve of my upper right molar that is making me lose sleep at night and is making me fearful of becoming addicted to percocet. Thankfully, my kind downstairs neighbor lent me one of her xanax and I'm thinking I'll ask for nitrous oxide. :hidesbehindsofa: