• Welcome! This is a forum for anyone who is affected by a fear of the dentist, dental phobia, or specific dental fears.

    We are lucky to count a number of dentists among our members and moderators. Look out for the "Verified dentist" badges. If you are a dental professional who likes to help, please join our community!

    Register now to access many more features and forums.

What caused your fear or phobia?

What caused your dental phobia or fear?

  • A single traumatic experience at the dentist

    Votes: 8 12.9%
  • A number of traumatic experiences at the dentist

    Votes: 32 51.6%
  • Dentists can't get me numb

    Votes: 9 14.5%
  • Comments made by a dentist or hygienist (humiliation)

    Votes: 24 38.7%
  • Feeling powerless in dental situations

    Votes: 30 48.4%
  • Parents or caregivers being scared of the dentist

    Votes: 11 17.7%
  • Hearing horror stories from other people

    Votes: 12 19.4%
  • Movies or media portrayal of dental treatment

    Votes: 8 12.9%
  • Other traumatic experiences, including abuse

    Votes: 13 21.0%
  • Generally high levels of anxiety

    Votes: 30 48.4%
  • Emetophobia (fear of vomiting)

    Votes: 8 12.9%
  • Parents or caregivers instilling feelings of guilt about dental health

    Votes: 12 19.4%
  • Other (you can leave a post in this thread)

    Votes: 9 14.5%
  • No real reason/don't know

    Votes: 3 4.8%

  • Total voters
    62
L

lena25

Junior member
Joined
Jun 4, 2019
Messages
17
Location
Belgrade
My trauma began, I must have been almost 10. It was a routine check up done by our school. The dentist pulled my emerging tooth out of the blue without any anesthetic, cut it and just pull it out, sewed it and sent me back to class along with the rest of the pupils from my class
 
J

Jay LB

Junior member
Joined
Sep 16, 2020
Messages
1
Location
Philippines
My trauma began when I was 8 years old, receiving my very first dental extraction. Cause that time my tooth pain hinders and distracts my school performances so my parents took me into the dentist. They held me down and I was crying hard begging to get home. I felt everything, the blades, the needle, and the motion of my tooth being pulled. I even had the taste of the drug they put in my tooth before putting the needle.

After those, for years I never got myseld into the dental office again. I don't like to have any peinful experience again. I dont want to be helpless. I've been into surgeries that made me helpless and crying in agony, even my circumcision, that the doctors laughed at me while I'm crying in agony.
 
T

Teix

Junior member
Joined
Mar 1, 2021
Messages
18
Location
Uk
I never had any trauma. My dentists up till I was around 14 were lovely, gentle and kind. I wasn’t keen on the last one I had because she was stern and no nonsense so had no time for my anxiety.

But I’ve always been scared of the dentist. Maybe it was the vibes my parents gave out when we visited? Or maybe it’s because I’ve always been an anxious person!

What certainly hasn’t helped was watching those make over programmes from the mid 2000s. Or being told that my Father bites down hard on his teeth before eating to stop them falling out....
 
M

MamaSeesa

Junior member
Joined
Mar 13, 2021
Messages
3
Location
Virginia
I have always had a phobia, I think because I have soft teeth and/ or dry mouth and thus needed work done after every checkup. I used to pray for Jesus to come rapture the church before my next appointment!
When I went to college, I stopped going for about 2 years since my mom couldn't make me. Then I was getting married and wanted a pretty smile. After 2 years of not going, I had 9 cavities, periodontal disease, and needed one molar pulled. I was still terrified, but I made myself get it all done. The periodontist is who did me in. He blamed me for my tooth decay, made me sit through an hour long video of what tooth decay does to you, and generally shamed me for needing work done. Then when he actually worked on my teeth, he forcefully jammed the needle in (and I needed it 3 times for the procedure). I was crying, the hygienist was embarrassed, and he never said a word to me. My phobia became PTSD. I didn't go to a dentist again for 15 years (tried once 10 years after, had 5 panic attacks). The needles are my trigger. I was sedated to get work done, and I came out of it crying when they were numbing me. Both sedation appointments. My daughter had to be numbed to have a baby tooth pulled and I had to turn away and have a small panic attack just thinking about what they were doing. Thankfully I found a dentist whose entire office is designed for people with anxiety, phobias, and PTSD.
 
G

Garcha

Junior member
Joined
Apr 14, 2021
Messages
3
Location
houston
I have needle phobia not due to bad dental experiences but bad doctor experiences. As a kid my tonsils would get irritated very easily and I'd make frequent trips to the doctor. The doctor would often prescribe injections for my infection. Since I didn't have "enough muscle" in my arms or thighs as a kid I was injected in my butt ( WEIRD IK). I hated it as it hurt and I moved so much in resistance that almost 4 nurses had to pin me down every time. That trauma has turned into a fear of needles because it reminds me of that pain and trauma. I have gotten multiple injections growing up but still the fear is still there.
 
C

Chris1986UK

Junior member
Joined
Apr 13, 2021
Messages
3
Location
Sunderland
I had a injection in the roof of my mouth, when I was fairly young and it REALLY hurt.
I’ve had hypnotherapy since and have conquered my fear in general. An injection in the roof of the mouth would however still make me very nervous to say the least. It may not be as bad now, but it’s the only experience I have.
 
T

Timid Llama

Junior member
Joined
May 8, 2021
Messages
4
Location
Scotland
My childhood dentist used to give fillings with no anaesthetic. That pretty much started a lifelong fear. There have been numerous things since. Loose front teeth after surgical removal of a tooth in my palette followed by stitches being left in by accident. I still remember the dentist yanking away for ages before he realised the end was wrapped around the tooth next to it. Then there a really bad root canal where they couldn't get it numb and the pain was so bad when they hit the nerve.

My most recent experience has made me spiral even worse. I got an anaesthetic injection on the palette side of an upper back tooth that needed extracted. The dentist did warn me that it would hurt but the pain was beyond anything I could imagine. I felt a pushing/ripping sensation as he got the needle into the right spot and I started screaming, then he injected the liquid and it turned into a proper blood curdling, someone is being murdered scream. I didn't even know that I could scream, but apparently I'm very good at it!
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
5,366
My childhood dentist used to give fillings with no anaesthetic. That pretty much started a lifelong fear. There have been numerous things since. Loose front teeth after surgical removal of a tooth in my palette followed by stitches being left in by accident. I still remember the dentist yanking away for ages before he realised the end was wrapped around the tooth next to it. Then there a really bad root canal where they couldn't get it numb and the pain was so bad when they hit the nerve.

My most recent experience has made me spiral even worse. I got an anaesthetic injection on the palette side of an upper back tooth that needed extracted. The dentist did warn me that it would hurt but the pain was beyond anything I could imagine. I felt a pushing/ripping sensation as he got the needle into the right spot and I started screaming, then he injected the liquid and it turned into a proper blood curdling, someone is being murdered scream. I didn't even know that I could scream, but apparently I'm very good at it!
That sounds terrible 😥. So sorry that this has happened to you, and that it has happened repeatedly.

Did you know that we have a section on the forum with dentists who have been recommended by our forum members? You can find the section for Scotland here:

 
T

Timid Llama

Junior member
Joined
May 8, 2021
Messages
4
Location
Scotland
That sounds terrible 😥. So sorry that this has happened to you, and that it has happened repeatedly.

Did you know that we have a section on the forum with dentists who have been recommended by our forum members? You can find the section for Scotland here:

Thanks for giving me a heads up. My biggest issue is needing an NHS dentist reasonably near me as I sadly still need a lot of work done. I'm so scared that no matter who I change to, will still either not give me time to feel comfortable/safe, or that maybe my mouth is so bad because of an eating disorder that no matter what they do it will still hurt, and it will be all of my own doing.
 
K

keikokeiko

Junior member
Joined
Apr 25, 2019
Messages
19
Location
California
I checked off multiple bad experiences and humiliation, since childhood. I wasn't very good about taking care of my teeth, I was just so naive and didn't understand the importance, and it was always thrown back in my face. My teeth are also very sensitive, so once I had spacers being put in my teeth and I was crying, the hygienist pointed to a boy younger than me in the seat next to me and said "look, he's younger than you, and HE'S not crying!". They would also do that when me and my sister both had appointments together and I was the one crying. Injections were also painful as a kid, as I've read, they simply didn't know how to administer them so they didn't hurt as much back in the 90s. The last childhood experience I had was when I was about 11, I had lost my bottom retainer and my teeth were beginning to shift. The dentist was NOT happy. I remember him pacing around me, one hand on his hip, the other rubbing his chin, while I just stared up at the light, ignoring his rants and waiting for this visit to be over. When he noticed me not looking at him, he shoves the light away and gets right in my face to make sure I'm listening to him. From there I just learned to believe dentists are there to make you feel bad about yourself. :shame:

I'm 31 now and finally overcome my phobias after finding the right dentists who are professional and care about you!
 
Catie McBain

Catie McBain

Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2020
Messages
73
Location
Northern California
Mine is a long story, but I know how this all began.

This all started when I was really young, like around four years old, and had to do with negative experiences at the doctor. Because when I was little, the doctors always had to pull my pants down in order to give me a shot in my bottom. As a child, I remember feeling scared and vulnerable, unsure of why they had to basically strip me naked from the waist down, and I fought with them because my mother always taught me that strangers aren't supposed to see or touch those places.

It didn't help that I was being molested by a teacher at preschool. All of this combined to make me afraid of doctor visits, because they were holding me down while I was screaming and crying, usually two women restraining me and taking my clothes off. This is also how I developed a fear of needles, because when they brought out the needle for a vaccination, I knew they were going to pull my pants down, like the teacher who was molesting me.

In time my fears developed into a phobia of needles, medical procedures, hospitals, medical tests, doctors, dentists, everything and all of it. The molestation combined with the nurses who held me down and removed my clothes made me develop the phobia.

Because of this, I fear being restrained by people in the medical and dental profession, fear because I'm afraid of what they'll do to me once they have me down, fear because I have been physically restrained in the past. I feel vulnerable in any kind of medical or dental setting, and there have been times when I've had nightmares about being kidnapped and held prisoner by doctors in a hospital, nightmares about being raped by doctors.

Of course, I've also heard horror stories about dentists who rape their female patients while they're under anesthesia. I've already had some really bad experiences, and although I know the chances of that happening to me are slim, I always think what if I'm next. And that's why I'm afraid. That is why I have panic attacks and can't tolerate having injections or any kind of medical/dental procedures.

My mother has also told me about a time when I was a baby and had to be restrained with a straight jacket while at the doctor's office. It was because I had stuffed a bunch of fuzzballs from my blanket up my nose. So they held me down, put me in a straight jacket, and then shoved a long pair of tweezers up my nose to get the fuzzballs out because I had developed a sinus infection. I have no memory of this, but for all I know it could have started me down the path of fear and anxiety, remaining somewhere in my subconscious.
 
Last edited:
B

BooBoo99362

Junior member
Joined
Jun 5, 2021
Messages
1
Location
roseburg oregon
I'm brand new, hi......(basically giving the Readers Digest abridged version here).......

One of my first memories was my Gramma taking me to the dentist, starting very young, we during our childhood, we spent every summer with both sets of grandparents and assorted aunts and uncles.... My Gramma's guy didn't believe in Novocain , and would slap my legs if I moved while he was drilling multiple visits over 3 or 4 years, I had bruising from him every time (I learned not to cry also), as a small child.

Fast forward to me at 16, bucking hay and needing a root canal, 95+ degrees, bucking bales from the break of day till sunset. On antibiotics and went in. They did not get me numb. I was doing an involuntary back crawl trying to get away from the drill (the pain is indescribable) He got up in my face, with his 3 Martini lunch breath and told me he would follow me right out the door with his drill in my mouth.

Fast forward many years later. I have had extensive work done over the years in 'pockets of time' when I found a dentist who wasn't a sadist and brushed my teeth like a fiend to avoid any Dentists (who I suspect could be nice people, the majority, you just can't tell who is safe, and who isn't)

My world had blown up, things (monsters) I had suppressed for decades were now running free in my head. I was diagnosed with CPTSD, Anxiety Disorder and DIDNOS, an alphabet of hot mess to be sure. My Body fell apart, and my Doc found I had NO 'good bugs' in my gut and I had heavy metal poisoning (at 48) Started what would be 4 years of Chelation. I knew it would be trouble, as much as i loathed going to the dentist, my old (mercury) fillings needed to be replaced.

Made the appointment, I knew enough to know I was a hot mess and was VERY clear with the staff, I was a hot mess and had trouble when it came to Dentists. They couldn't have been nicer on the phone. Went to the appointment, made sure the front desk knew I wanted a consultation only (as I had made VERY clear in the first phone call) That apparently was okay with the staff, but NOT the Doc. She took at least 20 minutes out of her day to chew me up one side and down the other because I wasn't fitting what she wanted in a patient. That was 2017, I never went back. I tank the staff and never returned. My teeth fell apart despite my efforts at home (it was bound to happen, Chelation is called Chemo light for a reason)

Last week I had the last of my destroyed teeth pulled and immediate dentures put in. I am a wreck of a woman right now...... (please pardon any typos, spellcheck is my bff, but I am Dyslexic and tend to just pick the top suggestion, I do try to proof read my posts)
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 26, 2017
Messages
2,933
Location
Minneapolis, MN
Booboo99362

:welcome: First let me say, I am very sorry what you experienced as a child growing up with awful dentists.. sounds like it could have been the same one I went to. Never had Novocain anesthetic either and would drill tell me to shut up and i'm making up any pain . well thats the nice version. I feel what you went through. and sorry you had to. :( . Also with the dentist chewing you out.. after having a little hope due to the nice staff.. It doesnt' leave people with alot of hope at all.
Shame never helps anyone , or berating it just doesn't . agh.

Do not worry about typos here,, you are in good company , none of us are perfect typers and all of us have dental fear /anxiety. Maybe different types and different situations. But you are in the right place.

Its okay to be a mess for a while. you have had a lot of dental trauma despite your best efforts. It sounds like you tried all you could , but one really doesn't want to go back to a traumatic place.. I know I didn't.

Was your last dental office you went to last week any better or more graceful? How are you doing with the dentures? I"m sorry for your experience .. We are here to support you.. :grouphug:
 
Top