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Why Are We Scared To Go To A Dentist?

Not many people really like going to the dentist. But for some people, the thought of going to the dentist can bring on such a fear that they avoid getting the dental care they need.

1) Generalized anxiety

Dental anxiety is a Real Thing… Being scared to go to a dentist can result in delaying or avoiding dental treatment. There are many terms used to classify the idea of dental phobia. It can be known as dental fear/ dental anxiety/ dentophobia, etc…

Causes of Dental Anxiety and Phobia

People develop dental anxieties and phobias for many different reasons. Fear of pain. Fear of pain is a very common reason for avoiding the dentist. This fear usually stems from an early dental experience that was unpleasant or painful, traumatic experience or from dental “pain and horror” stories told by other people. Thanks to the many advances in field of dentistry made over the years that most of today’s dental procedures are considerably less painful or even pain-free.

2) Claustrophobic.

Claustrophobia is one of the most common phobias, with about 5% of the population experiencing it to one degree or another.

In a dental clinic it can be triggered because of :

  • The drill – a fear of drilling may be caused by a dislike of the sound and vibration as well as fears about pain. Some people may fear pain from a drill which can be triggered by the sound of the drill. However now during a procedure patients are numbed before using the drill. When sufficiently numbed you do not feel any pain at all. You will just be aware of light pressure and vibration. If the sound troubles you, pop in earphones and listen to some music. This can help to calm and or distract your mind.
  • Fear of injections or fear the injection won’t work.
    Many people are terrified of needles especially when it is inserted into their mouth. Beyond this fear others fear that the anesthesia has not yet taken effect or it was not a large enough dose to eliminate any pain before the dental procedure begins. It may be reassuring to know that dentists all over India are now using very effective numbing gels prior to giving you any injections. This should mean you will not feel a thing. These numbing gels have helped many people overcome their fear of dental injections.

3) Embarrassment over condition of teeth and mouth

The mouth is an intimate part of the body. People may feel ashamed or embarrassed to have a stranger looking inside. This may be a particular problem if they are self-conscious about how their teeth look. Dental treatments also require physical closeness. During a treatment, the dentist’s face may be just a few inches away. This can make people anxious and uncomfortable. While others may feel self-conscious about the appearance of their teeth or possible mouth odors. Dentists in Delhi deal with damaged teeth and gums every day. They have seen many people with worse dental problems than yours. So, it is their job to help people prevent dental problems. You may like to call your dentist and let them know you are embarrassed about the state of your teeth – but would like their help to fix them.

4) Negative past experiences

Anyone who has had pain or discomfort during previous dental procedures is likely to be more anxious the next time around. Being afraid of the dentist or the procedures keeps people from seeking necessary dental care all the time. If you have dental fears, anxieties, or even a phobia, talk to your dentist before scheduling a procedure. Meet with them in their office to discuss your mental health, past experiences, and what you fear. Some worries can be alleviated with information about the process or a quick look around the dental clinic. The fear can also arise from a bad interaction with a dentist and the way in which the dentist’s attitude was perceived, but it is unfair to keep the same review for all the other dentists also. Reputed Dental clinics in Delhi are now providing counseling sessions for the patients who suffer dental anxiety/ fear, Smile Delhi – The dental clinic being one of them.

5) Loss of Control

During a dental procedure, you are in a chair where you must stay still and you can’t always see what is going on around you. This situation can cause anxiety for some patients who want to see what is going on and feel as if they are in control of the situation. If lack of control is one of your main stressors, actively participating in a discussion with your dentist about your treatment can ease your tension. Ask your dentist to explain what’s happening at every stage of the procedure. This way you can mentally prepare for what is to come. Another helpful strategy is to establish a signal such as raising your hand when you want the dentist to immediately stop. Use this signal whenever you are uncomfortable, need to rinse your mouth, or simply need to catch your breath.

6) Gagging

Some patients have a strong gag reflex. When their dentist touches a certain area of their mouth, they may gag. Patients may become anxious because they fear vomiting at (or on) the dentist.

What You Can Do To Lessen Your Gag Reflex

1. Concentrate on breathing through your nose

Breathing through your mouth is one of the most common gag reflex triggers, but it is often the default when your mouth is propped open. Focus your attention on breathing deeply through your nose instead. If a cold or allergies have resulted in a stuffy nose, take an over-the-counter decongestant prior to arriving at your dentist’s office or try using nasal strips.

2. Don’t attempt to swallow your saliva

No one likes the idea of drooling in the dentist’s chair, but trying to prevent drool from escaping your mouth by swallowing your saliva often leads to gagging.

3. Find a distraction

Taking your focus off of your mouth can often lessen your chances of engaging your gag reflex. Squeezing a stress ball, listening to music through headphones or employing self-hypnosis techniques are all excellent distractions from ongoing  dental work.

Things You Can Do to Make Dentist Visits Less Scary

According to behavioral scientists, dental visits can be less stressful if you do the following:

  • Avoid caffeine for at least six hours before a dental appointment can make you less anxious.
  • Eat high-protein foods, such as cheese, one hour before your visit can do a lot to calm dental anxiety (sugary foods can increase agitation and carbohydrates do not have the same calming effect that protein-rich foods do).
  • Focus on breathing regularly and slowly. Concentrate on pausing for a few seconds between exhaling and inhaling. People who are anxious tend to hold their breath, which decreases their oxygen levels and further increases the feeling of panic.
  • Agree upon a specific gesture with your dentist, such as a hand signal, so that you can alert her to pause. Some people call this a “stop signal” and it is great if you have ever been afraid of the loss of control many feel in the dental chair.


Being afraid of going to the dentist is more common than you may realize. Some fears are based on past experiences while others are tied to our fear of the unknown. Good, well established and caring dental clinics in India will work with you to overcome or deal with your dental fears. They will listen and take care your concerns seriously. Do not avoid going to the dentist because you are afraid.Instead, find a dentist who will work with you.

These fears and anxieties may affect your quality of life if they are left untreated. They may prevent you having important treatment or visiting the dentist at all.

If your dental fears are affecting your quality of life, it is time to get some help.

Posted by : Dr Sonam