Dental Phobia

Dental phobia is a very common problem that can make people afraid to go to the dentist. It can be triggered by a negative personal experience or by seeing a bad portrayal of dentistry in the media.


Many dental practices are starting to focus on providing an environment that is safe and welcoming for those with dental phobias. This includes coping strategies like deep breathing and repeating calming phrases.

Fear of needles

Dental anxiety and phobia can be caused by several factors. These can range from traumatic experiences as a child to generalised anxiety disorder. Regardless of the cause, it is important to understand that this condition can be treated effectively. Many dentists are trained to deal with phobic patients, and many offer services such as sedation dentistry.

Despite the advances in dental care, needle fear is still a common problem. This phobia can impact children’s lives in a variety of ways, including avoiding necessary treatment and limiting their social activities. It can also affect their relationships with parents and healthcare professionals, and lead to feelings of shame and embarrassment.

The results of this study highlight the importance of understanding the causes of needle phobia in dentally anxious children. Similar themes have been identified in previous studies focusing on needle and dental anxiety, such as children seeking control of their treatment, fears about pain, and the need for trust. It is essential that these issues are addressed when treating this group of children.

Needle phobia can make dental treatments very difficult, as most procedures require injections to administer the anaesthetic. Often this will mean that the treatment is not completed and the patient’s oral health will suffer. In some cases, the fear of injections can be so extreme that it leads to a avoidance of medical treatment altogether.

Fear of pain

Many people with dentophobia are afraid of experiencing pain. Often, they don’t seek treatment for their dental problems, which can lead to poor oral health over time. Small cavities can worsen into rotten and broken teeth, which may require expensive root canal treatment and reconstruction work. Additionally, these issues can cause infections, which can be life-threatening if not treated.

In most cases, the fear of pain is caused by a past painful experience, usually in childhood. Many people can recall a frightening root canal, pulled tooth or negative interaction with a dentist as children. Others can become anxious from hearing about a loved one’s bad experience or seeing dentistry depicted as scary in TV shows and movies.

Dental anxiety can have serious implications for your physical and mental health. It can even affect your social relationships and employment opportunities. In severe cases, it can also cause depression and even suicide. It is important to recognize this disorder and seek the help of a psychologist or therapist.

A phobia is more than an irrational fear, but rather a deep-seated dread that causes the individual to engage in avoidance behaviours. Symptoms include fear, anxiety and depression, avoidance behaviour, hypervigilance of surroundings, feelings of being out of control, and/or behavioural changes. Those who are diagnosed with dental phobia can be helped through cognitive-behavioral therapy, medication and hypnosis.

Fear of the dentist

Everyone feels some pain or discomfort during dental treatment, but the level of distress and anxiety is very individual. People with severe phobias experience irrational fear, avoiding dental appointments even for routine cleaning and assessments. This can result in poor dental health and the need for more invasive treatments.

Some people develop dentophobia after a negative, traumatic experience at the dentist as a child. Insensitive comments by dentists or dental hygienists can also contribute to the phobia. People with severe fears may become socially isolated as a result and find it difficult to get jobs, dates or relationships.

There are several ways to treat dental phobia, including cognitive behavioral therapy and medication. It is also possible to reduce your stress levels through relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and mindfulness meditation. You can also try hypnotherapy, which is a powerful tool for reducing anxiety. Some patients find it helpful to bring a friend or spouse to their appointment, which can make them feel supported and less anxious.

Many dental professionals are familiar with the irrational fear of dentistry, and are equipped to help you overcome your fear. For instance, your dentist can offer you sedation for your appointment, which is available in pill form or by injection. You can discuss this option with your dentist, and explain that you have severe anxiety.

Fear of being embarrassed

Many people who suffer with Dental phobia develop it because of an early traumatic experience at the dentist. Vicarious learning through the experience of others can also be a factor in the development of Dental anxiety and phobia. This can be through observing the behaviour of friends, family or even media images of patients who have had a bad experience at the dentist.

People with high levels of dental anxiety are more likely to avoid the dentist due to fear, self-consciousness or feelings of inferiority. This can lead to poor oral health and a vicious cycle of avoidance. It can also be a cause of depression and an inability to function at work or socially.

The anxiety and avoidance that is associated with Dental phobia can be treated effectively through cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and adapted dental treatment. Both approaches are available at the DFRTC and have proven success in the clinical setting. [27] It is important to note that CBT is not appropriate for all patients, such as those with severe comorbidity (e.g. substance abuse, eating disorders, generalised anxiety disorder or depression) and those who do not have the motivation to engage with CBT.

Those with dental anxiety or phobia should be targeted through national campaigns to provide education, hope and the opportunity to seek help. There is no reason to continue suffering with this debilitating condition. Those who do have the courage to seek help are often amazed at how much their quality of life is improved through successful psychological and dental treatment.