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Fear of the Dentist! Simple Strategies for a Calm and Comfortable Visit

Updated: Mar 26


Overcome Fear of the dentist with self-hypnosis

In my early years, I was a dental nurse, so I have first-hand knowledge of patients with a fear of the dentist. After my training as a psychotherapist and clinical hypnotherapist, I often worked with patients with dental phobia. In this article, I will explain where this fear comes from and what can be done to overcome it.


It's quite common for individuals to experience feelings of fear or apprehension when faced with visiting the dentist. This unease, known as dental anxiety or dental phobia, can be apparent on different levels, from mild to severe.


The causes behind this fear can be diverse, stemming from a past negative experience at the dentist's surgery, concerns about pain, or simply a general apprehension towards any medical procedure.


For those struggling with dental anxiety, it's important to openly talk about your fears with your dentist. They can work with you to create an atmosphere that encourages comfort and relaxation during your visits. Additionally, there are a number of approaches you can consider to diminish your anxiety:

  1. Select a dentist who you feel you can trust and who makes you feel comfortable. You should ask friends or family for recommendations or explore dental practices that specialize in treating people with anxiety. These qualities would be displayed on their website.

  2. Talk to your dentist about your fears. Share your specific concerns and seek assurance regarding the procedures that will take place during your visit. Your dentist can explain the process, giving you knowledge and a sense of clarity.

  3. Take a friend with you. Having a friend or family member accompany you to your appointment can offer valuable emotional reassurance.

  4. Try relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises or visualization practices. These methods can assist in cultivating a sense of calm and focus during your dental visit.

  5. Inquire about medication or sedatives. Some dentists provide options like nitrous oxide (commonly known as laughing gas) or oral sedation, which can help induce relaxation during your appointment.

Dental Hypnosis


Hypnosis can bring considerable relief to anxious patients and make it easier for the dentist to do their job but it is particularly implemented in order to help patients relax. As relaxation raises the pain threshold, requirement for local anesthesia is reduced. And even if it is necessary, it is better tolerated. Finding a dentist who can provide this service may be a tall order however, we have a solution if you think Hypnosis is something you would like to try.


As I mentioned at the top of this article, I am UK qualified Clinical Hypnotherapist. For several years, prior to studying Hypnotherapy, I worked as a Dental Nurse in both NHS and private practice. So, when I began to produce my range of Self-Hypnosis recordings, as I had dealt with nervous patients before, producing one for Fear of the Dentist, was one of my first sessions. You can Download it HERE Alternatively, you may want to consider seeking the help of a mental health professional, such as a therapist or counsellor, who can work with you to address your anxiety and help you overcome your fear.


It is important to keep in mind that regular dental visits are important for maintaining good oral health.


Prevention is better than cure.


A Dad showing his child how to brush teeth correctly

  1. Select a dentist who you feel you can trust and who makes you feel comfortable. You should ask friends or family for recommendations or explore dental practices that specialize in treating people with anxiety. These qualities would be displayed on their website.

  2. Talk to your dentist about your fears. Share your specific concerns and seek assurance regarding the procedures that will take place during your visit. Your dentist can explain the process, giving you knowledge and a sense of clarity.

  3. Take a friend with you. Having a friend or family member accompany you to your appointment can offer valuable emotional reassurance.

  4. Try relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises or visualization practices. These methods can assist in cultivating a sense of calm and focus during your dental visit.

  5. Inquire about medication or sedatives. Some dentists provide options like nitrous oxide (commonly known as laughing gas) or oral sedation, which can help induce relaxation during your appointment.

"In the realm of dentistry, the saying 'prevention is better than cure' underlines the wisdom of taking proactive steps to avert dental issues instead of resorting to treatments to rectify them afterward. There are multiple strategies to ward off dental problems:

  1. Perform oral hygiene by brushing your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, effectively eliminating plaque accumulation, a culprit behind tooth decay and gum ailments.

  2. Engage in daily flossing to remove plaque and food debris nestled between your teeth and along the gum line.

  3. Use mouthwash to combat bacteria and maintain fresh breath.

  4. Try to refrain from consuming sugary and acidic food and beverages, as they can cause tooth decay.

  5. Maintain regular visits to your dentist for check-ups and cleanings, influential in early issue detection and to prevent the issue spiraling.

By keeping to these preventive measures, one can safeguard the well-being of their teeth and gums while avoiding the need for expensive and time-consuming dental treatment.


What happens at a dental check up?


A woman having a dental check up

Regular dental check-ups are vital for avoiding treatment later on. It gives the opportunity for your dentist to spot any potential concerns such as decay, gum disease or even the presence of oral cancer.

Throughout this check up, your dentist may do the following actions:

  1. Dental Cleaning: The cleansing of your teeth is a procedure that might be performed either by a skilled dental hygienist or by your dentist. Its aim is to remove plaque and or stubborn tartar, which is essentially plaque that has solidified over time.

  2. Thorough Dental and Gum Inspection: Your dentist will make a meticulous examination of your teeth and gums, on the lookout for telltale signs of decay, gum infections or any other potential concerns. This examination could necessitate the use of specialized tools like mirrors, probes, or even X-rays to acquire an in-depth understanding.

  3. Oral Cancer Surveillance: The examination extends to a meticulous review of your oral cavity, including the mouth, lips, tongue, and throat, as part of a vigilant screening for any indicators of oral cancer.

  4. Oral Health Dialogue: Your dentist should talk to you about your oral health, even if it is just to say, "keep on doing what you are doing" or he may give advice on how you could do better. He should offer advice on how best to brush your teeth or flossing.

  5. Recommendations for Treatment: If, during the examination, your dentist finds any issues, he is likely to advise on suitable treatments. These may include a several options, ranging from fillings to crowns or other procedures.

Regular dental check-ups are really important to keep your mouth healthy. They help identify and fix issues early when it's easier to do something about them


What are the implications of not going to the dentist?


A set of false teeth or dentures

Not Visiting the Dentist Can Cause Serious Issues:

Not going to the dentist regularly can lead to big problems with your teeth and health. Here are some things that can happen:

  1. Tooth Decay and Cavities: Plaque can hurt your teeth. It can make holes in them called cavities. Cavities can be painful and can even make you lose your teeth if you don't fix them.

  2. Gum Disease: The same plaque can also give you gum disease. This makes your gums swell, bleed, and hurt. If you don't treat it, you could lose your teeth, and it might even give you heart problems.

  3. Oral Cancer: Dentists can find oral cancer early, which is great because it's easier to treat. But if you don't go to the dentist, they might not find it until it's too late.

  4. Other Health Problems: Bad teeth can lead to other problems, like diabetes. And if you get an infection in your mouth, it can spread to other parts of your body.

Keeping Your Breath Fresh:

Having fresh breath is important. Here's how to do it:

  1. Brush Your Teeth: Brush your teeth gently with fluoride toothpaste twice a day. Focus on the area near your gums.

  2. Floss: Use floss every day to get rid of food between your teeth and near your gum line. Your toothbrush can't reach there.

  3. Use Mouthwash: Mouthwash can help kill germs and keep your breath fresh.

  4. Change Your Toothbrush: Get a new toothbrush every few months.

  5. Don't Use Tobacco: Smoking and chewing tobacco can make your breath smell awful and cause other health problems.

  6. Drink Water: Drinking water can wash away germs and food particles, keeping your breath fresh.

  7. Chew Gum or Mints: Sugar-free gum or mints can make your mouth produce more saliva, which helps clean your mouth.

If your breath still stinks even after doing these things, see a dentist or doctor to find out why.

Electric Toothbrushes Can Help:


Electric toothbrushes can be really good for your teeth. Here's why:

  1. Better Cleaning: They can remove more plaque than a regular toothbrush and keep your gums healthy.

  2. Easy to Use: They're easier to use if you have trouble using a regular toothbrush perhaps because of a disability.

  3. Timers: Many of them have timers to make sure you brush for long enough.

  4. Custom Settings: Some can be adjusted for sensitive teeth or whitening.

However, the best one for you depends on your preference and what your dentist recommends.

Dental Water Flosser Explained: A dental water flosser is a tool that sprays water to clean between your teeth and gums. It's like flossing with water. Here's why people use them:

  1. Better Cleaning: They can be really good at removing plaque and keeping your gums healthy, especially in hard-to-reach places.

  2. Easy to Use: They're easier to use if you can't use regular floss.

  3. Portable: You can take them with you when you travel.

Just like with toothbrushes, it's essential to follow your dentist's advice on which method is right for you. In conclusion.


It is important to see a dentist regularly to maintain good oral health and prevent serious problems from developing. If dental phobia is preventing you from getting dental treatment, it is important to communicate your concerns to your dentist and explore any other strategies to help you feel more comfortable during your appointments.


Sharon Shinwell Clinical Hypnotherapist

I am now I retired from my face-to-face counselling and hypnotherapy practice. However, I am able to continue to help individuals through my range of downloadable Self-Hypnosis sessions that address a variety of issues. With my extensive knowledge and experience in the field of hypnotherapy, I am able to provide effective solutions for those seeking to improve their mental and emotional well-being. For my Self-Hypnosis session for Fear of The Dentist CLICK HERE

"This article represents the personal views and opinions of the author and should not be taken as representative of the official policy or position of any organization, professional, expert, or individual."

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