Dental Phobia

Dental phobia, or dentophobia, is an irrational fear of the dentist that can keep people from getting preventive dental care and necessary treatments. This can lead to painful and expensive consequences.


Many people with dental anxiety can trace their fear back to traumatic experiences in childhood. Other contributing factors include seeing negative images of dentistry on TV and in movies.

Fear of the Dentist

Like any phobia, fear of the dentist can be debilitating. It can prevent people from seeking dental care, which leads to untreated dental problems, and even worsens the underlying problem. It can also negatively impact their health and relationships.

A fear of the dentist can be triggered by many things, including past traumatic experiences, hearing about loved ones’ negative experiences, seeing depictions of dental procedures in films or TV shows, and more. In addition, a person may have an anxiety disorder or other mental health condition that contributes to their anxiety about visiting the dentist.

A phobia can be treated by talking to a trained mental health professional or by using different coping techniques. In some cases, a person may need to try several dentists before finding one who makes them feel comfortable enough to receive care. However, it is worth it to overcome the phobia and receive dental treatment that will improve your oral health and overall quality of life. Avoiding the dentist for too long can lead to serious complications, such as gum disease and rotten teeth.

Fear of the Procedure

It is common for patients to experience fear and anxiety when it comes to dental treatment. However, when this becomes severe and prevents people from seeking dental care, they may be suffering from a full-blown phobia.

Dentophobia can lead to poor oral health, tooth loss and even social problems. Every dentist has heard stories of patients who have tried self-treatment like gluing their loose teeth together or using superglue to repair chipped teeth.

One possible cause of a dental phobia is a traumatic past experience. This can include being afraid to visit the dentist as a child, having a procedure performed without their consent or having an adverse experience at a previous dental appointment.

Another reason for a dental phobia can be the fear of injections. Many people are afraid of needles and are worried the anesthesia won’t be strong enough or that it won’t work. In addition, many people have a fear of the pain and discomfort associated with dental procedures. This can cause them to avoid getting necessary treatment, which can result in a host of complications including untreated cavities and gum disease.

Fear of the Hygienist

A fear of the hygienist can be one of the most common reasons for avoiding dental treatment. This can be attributed to past negative experiences or a generalized anxiety towards the medical field. It can also be caused by fear of needles or the feeling that the anesthesia won’t work properly. People with this fear often have difficulty communicating their anxieties to hygienists, and therefore, do not get the treatment they need.

Hypnotherapy is an option for addressing dental anxiety. It uses guided relaxation and focused attention to help patients change their perception of situations. Studies have shown that hypnotherapy can reduce stress and anxiety levels before and during treatments. Sedation is another option for reducing anxiety during dental procedures. It is commonly administered through nitrous oxide (laughing gas), pills or intravenous sedation. Patients with a dental phobia should be sure to find a dentist who is willing to work with them. There are many dentists who have received specialized training for treating phobic patients. They will be able to provide the patient with options that will allow them to receive the care they need.

Fear of the Environment

Dental fear can have a huge impact on a person’s life. For some, it becomes so bad that they avoid going to the dentist, even when their teeth are in a state of severe decay and require treatment. This can cause the teeth to deteriorate and lead to other health issues.

In some cases, a person’s anxiety may have a completely logical root, in particular if they have had a negative or even traumatic experience with a dentist or dental procedure in the past. However, in other cases the fear is more irrational and can be related to a number of factors such as:

In a study by Gao et al. [38], participants were asked to watch videos that included a variety of different situations in which people visited the dentist. They found that DFA was more likely to be triggered by invasive stimuli, such as surgical work, compared with non-invasive stimuli, such as meeting the dentists. They also found that DFA was influenced by vicarious learning, with children and adolescents more likely to develop anxiety from seeing their parents react anxiously to visits to the dentist.

Fear of the Equipment

The equipment used to perform dental treatments makes many people anxious. This is because of the sounds it creates and also because some patients have a strong gag reflex which can be uncomfortable. The good news is that this is a problem which can be dealt with and overcome with time and patience.

Dental fear, anxiety and phobia are complex issues which affect individuals in different ways. They can be caused by a combination of exogenous factors such as direct learning from painful past experiences and vicarious learning through significant others and the media, and endogenous factors such as personality traits and negative affectivity.

Often, the difference between dental fear and dental anxiety is that someone experiencing dental fear will know exactly what they are afraid of and why. For example, if you are scared of the drill or needles, this is dental fear and can be resolved with relaxation techniques and distraction. For example, listening to music or bringing a friend along can help distract you from your fears and keep you calm during treatment.