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British Centre of Dental Phobia FAQs

The term "dental phobia" covers a wide range of issues and anxieties and can leave many suffers feeling alone and unable to get help. Below are some of the common questions raised from dental phobia patients:

Question: How can I find a dentist that is trained to help me with my fears and anxiety about visiting the dentist?

Answer: There are a number of dentists throughout the country who have been specially trained to deal with dental phobic patients. They will have had lots of experience and training in order to deal with patients with a wide range of phobias, it is nothing they haven't seen before.

Question: I am so terrified of visiting the dentist that I am thinking of cancelling my appointment, what can I do?

Answer: If you bury your head in the sand and do not face up to your problem and seek help, your dental health will suffer. What began as a mild cavity can, over time, lead to much more serious issues. Treatment may then become more serious, more time consuming and more painful. It is useful to visit a dental surgery without getting treatment so that you can get used to the practice and talk to your dentist. They are here to listen and to help.

Question: When I think about going to the dentist I worry that I will have to undergo a painful procedure. Is there anyway to make it painless?

Answer: Most dental procedures are not painful, but often patients will find the only painful part of the treatment is the needle injection. Injections do not have to be used, as there are other pain free alternatives like sedation methods that relax patients and remove fear and anxious feelings during treatment. Other alternatives to needles include the Wand, which is a pain-free injection applied to the gum area.

Question: My oral health is very poor at the moment and I do not want to see the dentist. What other reasons are there for people having dental phobia?

Answer: There are many reasons why people suffer with a phobia of going to the dentist. It can be because a patient has had a bad experience at the dentist as a child, which stops them going as an adult. Some people have heard very negative stories from others about their own dental experiences, which stops them getting treatment. For many people it is the feeling of having no control in the dental chair that makes them unable to visit the dentist. They may feel that the dentist has all the power and they can't do anything to stop the dentist. Many people find talking to their dentist helps, asking them to communicate what is happening during treatment and possible to have a hand gesture if they want the dentist to stop at any time.

Question: I have an upcoming dental appointment but I am very anxious about it. Is there anything I can do to prepare myself?

Answer: You can do a number of things prior to an appointment that may help on the day. It is well worth visiting your dentist and having a conversation with them about how you feel and the anxieties you have. This gives the dentist the opportunity to perhaps offer you help such as sedation or the wand, or even to communicate thoroughly throughout treatment. Your dentist will probably have a lot of experience in dealing with anxious patients and you will be far from the worst case they have come across. Talking to you is part of your dentist's job; they are only concerned with your oral health and will do what it takes to make you feel less anxious so that they can treat you. Visiting your dental practice first will acclimatise you to the environment and you can also get to know the staff better, which can be beneficial before your appointment.

Question: How can I feel more relaxed during dental treatment?

Answer: It is very important that you talk to your dentist and tell them about how you are feeling. This gives your dentist the chance to find specific ways of relaxing you and makes them fully aware of how you are feeling. Often, dental practices will play soothing music to patients or even use distraction techniques whilst carrying out treatment.

Question: I am worried that my nervousness will be inconvenient for my dentist during treatment. Can you assure me I am not alone in feeling anxious and that my dentist will not be annoyed with me?

Answer: Again communication is crucial here as your dentist needs to know exactly how you are feeling so that they can help you. They are fully trained to help the thousands of nervous patients in the UK so be honest with them. Talking to your dentist about your phobia will not cause them any inconvenience. Remember that your dentist treats nervous patients all the time, probably daily so this is something that they are used to. Ultimately your dentist wants you to have the best oral health possible, they are there to help in anyway they can so that you can undergo the dental treatment you need.


"Many thanks to you and your colleagues for all your excellent work. Your soothing words and manner have helped me to face bridgework and root canal treatment calmly and confidently..."

"Your greater understanding and your endless patience towards me during both my consultation and treatment really was amazing..."

"In addition, you have an extremely pleasant manner and I felt completely relaxed and without pain during the whole operation..."

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