4 Reasons Why You’re Afraid of the Dentist

4 Reasons Why You’re Afraid of the Dentist

Not everyone is afraid of the dentist, but a lot of people are, and it impacts their oral health every day. The things to be afraid of sometimes seem endless: drills, pain, needles, doctors, blood, having someone poking around in your mouth. You don’t have to feel bad about your fears and anxieties, but you’ve got to face them at some point.

For many patients, the worse your fear is, the worse your dental hygiene will often be. Why? Because few people will do something that terrifies them, even if it’s good for their health — like going to the dentist. Part of facing your fears is figuring out where they came from.

Not quite sure why you’re afraid of the dentist? Here are four reasons it could be.

Childhood Fears From The Dentist

Childhood Fears from the dentistIf you were raised by a parent who was afraid of the dentist, there’s a good chance you’re afraid too. The anxieties that our parents exhibit tend to trickle down to us when we’re young. If we don’t have an opportunity to reduce our fears, they stick with us. So you might not know exactly why you’re terrified, you just know you are.

You may also have other legitimate fears from your childhood — blood, needles, or a scary dentist you visited. Those fears aren’t usually dealt with when you’re a kid because it’s assumed you’ll “grow out of it.” Some people do, but not everyone will. They hang around and mess with you as an adult.

If you’re afraid, talk to your dentist who can offer solutions like dental sedation. Try, as a parent, not to let your children see your fears or you may pass them down to the next generation.

Bad Past Experiences at The Dentist

Bad Past Experiences at The DentistDuring childhood, bad experiences can stay with us even when we’ve forgotten about them. It’s understandable that you might not want to go to see a dentist if you had a bad visit when you were younger. This is especially true if you were already a little nervous before the appointment or procedure.

But bad experiences happen to us even as adults, and it’s easy to believe that all dentists will be as bad as that last one. It’s not true, and if you’re willing to search a little, you can find a dentist who cares about the patient experience. Don’t swear off all dentists. Instead, set appointments to simply talk and learn more about their practice. Explain your past experiences and concerns.

A good dentist will be willing to work with you to alleviate your fears. They’ll also be willing to take the time to make you feel comfortable and answer your questions.


AnxietySometimes you’re not afraid of the dentist for a specific reason. You’re simply a person with some form of anxiety. A lot of things make you nervous and afraid, and going to the dentist happens to be one of them. If you’re working with a doctor or mental professional currently, talk to them about your fear of the dentist. They may be able to provide specific help.

If you’re going to the dentist, but find it difficult to do, talk to your dentist. They may have multiple sedation options to help you relax and make it through your appointment or procedure. Nitrous oxide is the least invasive and oral sedation include anxiety medication that you take prior to your appointment. You have options, and you’re not doomed to a smile you don’t love because of your fears.

Feeling Vulnerable or Helpless

Feeling Vulnerable or HelplessSitting in a dentist’s chair with your mouth hanging open and letting someone work near your airway can feel very uncomfortable to some patients. You don’t always know what’s going on, and you may feel out of control, helpless, or vulnerable. This can create a lot of anxiety and fear for patients.

You’re not alone if you feel this way. Talk to your dentist and ask questions about the procedure. When your dentist knows you’re nervous or scared, they’re more likely to give you a play-by-play of what’s happening and what they’re doing. You can also ask for breaks or a moment to calm down during longer procedures if you feel overwhelmed.


You’re not alone if you’re fearful or anxious about going to the dentist. A lot of people are. The best way to deal with it is to talk to your dentist. If you have a dentist who won’t listen or help, it may be time to find a dental office who will. When you let your dentist know that you’re afraid, they can work with you to reduce your fears and give you the oral care you need for a healthy mouth and healthy life.