How To Keep Calm When Visiting The Dentist

Everybody has to visit the dentist at some time in their lives whether its for a regular visit or because they have bad toothache or a broken tooth. Unless they are in so much pain that they really don't care whether its going to hurt or not most of us have time to think about what the dentist is going to do. And more importantly, is it going to hurt.

We begin to sweat, our breathing gets shallow and sometimes people have been known to pass out just at the thought of visiting the dentist. I have often seen patients so scared while sitting in the waiting room, that they actually go white, shake and have had to go to the rest room to be sick. Nerves are not something that you can control if you allow yourself to get in such a state. I know it sounds impossible, but there are a few things that you can do to stop yourself panicking when visiting the dentist.


Dentist inbournemouth.org.uk
Dentist inbournemouth.org.uk

According to nurses, men hate the idea of jabs or shots more than women. I discovered this after having blood tests done. Three times more men pass out just at the thought of an injection than women.

So the thought of having an injection to numb the tooth is one of the main causes of panic. Of course women fear the needle too. The pain of the actual dental work comes in a close second.

As we all know, the horror of not being in control of the pain we are going to have is the trigger for our fear. The idea of pain can cause the actual event to feel much worse purely because the patient has built it up in their mind. By the time their appointment arrives they have worked themselves up into such a frenzy that the slightest touch of the dentists hands will send them into a full blown panic attack.

Knowledge Is Power

  1. Learn as much as you can about the dentist you are going to be seeing. Is he or she using the most up to date equipment? Sometimes we fear the dentist purely because we have had either a bad experience in the past with a substandard dentist, or it was so long ago the dental equipment was old fashioned and painful. For example the needles were longer and thicker, and the pain medication was frightening.
  2. Maybe being knocked out frightened you? These days the dentist uses state of the art equipment. The needles are small and if not completely pain free, then at least they are bearable. The dentists themselves are much more friendly, and will talk to you step by step through the procedure. If you are feeling pain or discomfort they will stop to let you rest.
  3. Ask to see the dentist before your appointment. Talk to him about your fears and allow him to put your mind at ease. By just seeing where he works and what the equipment looks like, it should calm you down.
  4. Ask your doctor or dentist if it is possible that you can take a mild tranquiliser before you have your treatment. The majority of the time you will be given one as long as it doesn't affect any medication you may be taking for another illness.
  5. Take someone with you. Just by having a friend or family member by your side should calm you down.
  6. Talk to other patients at the dentist surgery. See how they feel when they have had their treatment. Just by listening to what they have to say will cause you to calm down and see things in a rational manner.
  7. Over the course of the week before you go, learn deep breathing exercises. Maybe learn self hypnosis by listening to tapes or Cd's. The pain of having a tooth done is halved just by the fact that you are calming your body and mind.
  8. Listen to music while you are waiting in the surgery. Take a CD player or iPod and play your favorite songs, or try something calming like classical. Music really does have an effect on the pain sensors in your brain.
  9. If you are going on your own, try to sit with your mouth closed and breath gently. It's a fact that by keeping the mouth closed you will find that your nerves will go. The reason is that when we open our mouth when in a panicky state, we take in too much air and it causes us to hyperventilate. This will make you feel faint and panic more.
  10. Slowly rub your arms in a circular motion. Touch is a powerful weapon against fear and panic. Just the feeling of your hand on the skin will instantly sooth you. Better still get someone else to do it. The point is to try and concentrate on something else. Your cell phone, people walking past outside the window, and anything else that will get your attention. Hopefully the dentist will have something like a fish tank in the surgery waiting room. They are there to calm you. By watching them swim, you will be slightly hypnotised and your body will start to calm down.

excellence-in-dentistry.co.uk
excellence-in-dentistry.co.uk

Just remember, your fear is three parts irrational and one part common sense. Try to see it for what it really is. A few moments in an uncomfortable situation. Just remember that the dentist is not there to hurt you. He is there to heal you. He will do everything to make you calm. And hopefully you will come away with your fear of the dentist completely gone. It doesn't have to be a frightening experience as long as you put it into perspective.

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Comments 76 comments

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

GREAT, Nell!!! For all those people who get a headache from stress, just thinking about a visit to the dentist......and their knees knock and they feel nauseous........Me? The dentist is not one of the guys who scares me.......I don't wanna go round with the IRS man!! Got any tips for that??!! LOL!! UP+++


unknown spy profile image

unknown spy 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

Nell, I am sooo scared of dentist.. hehehe i think your tips are awesome.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi effer, lol! no sorry, I will have to work on that one! I used to be terrified of the dentist, but after my visit last week I could have kissed him! he was brilliant, I came back out smiling from ear to ear, and he must have thought I was mad! haha! thanks as always, nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi unknown spy, lol! I hope you found them helpful, thanks!


Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 4 years ago from San Francisco

My dentist is "Dr.Painless". It was a silly promo concept that made him a lot of money. His entire clientele was people who if he hurt any one of us, we would all leave. So he never did...


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi Mhatter, lol! that's a good way of dentisting! if that's a real word! haha! thanks for reading, cheers nell


Larry Fields profile image

Larry Fields 4 years ago from Northern California

I have one more suggestion to add to the list. Use a bit of Reverse Psychology. Watch a horror video just before you go to your dental appointment. My top two picks are The Exorcist and Night of the Living Dead. You'll be so freaked out that you'll be totally unfazed by routine dental work. :) Rated up.


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 4 years ago from Oakley, CA

Hmmm.... I was lucky, and had no cavities at all until past the age of 12, so I really had no reason to have built up fear...except for learning what my parents went through.

The dentist we had then was ahead of his time, and did everything he could to make it easier, including squirting some of the novocaine out onto your gums to make the jab less noticeable. But still, the fluid doesn't feel good going in. I used to bring a book to read in the waiting room, and I recall squeezing my finger hard in the middle of the book while that was going on, trying to distract myself.

It doesn't help that I have a severely over-sensitive gag reflex, either. In later years, the dentist we had when my kids were growing up had the slogan, "We cater to cowards." They made very sure you felt as little as possible. Once when I had to have a really deep drilling, and a crown put on, after the nerve block took effect and he started working, as it got deeper, I started to feel it anyway. All I did was wince a tiny bit, and he instantly stopped, and gave me three more shots right under the tooth he was working on. I was already numb enough that I never felt those, and the rest of the procedure went fine, except for having to stop and gag every so often.

Now, I have no dental coverage, at all, and cannot even afford check ups or cleanings. So, luckily, I inherited my dad's strong teeth, and not my mother's weak ones!

Great article and great ideas! Voted up, interesting, useful and shared.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

I am finally over my dental fear but I rarely even need a numbing anymore for fillings. I can tell you though up through my pregnancies in my twenties I was terrified and rarely slept the night before. Silly to have such fear! Glad I overcame.


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

I don't fear the dentist. I just don't like being confined to his chair while he's got his hands and fancy tools in my mouth. One slip up and uh oh!

Only mild tranquilizers? Can't you be a bit more generous? :) Excellent tips Nell!


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

I'm visiting dentist later in the day. I will remember your points.


peoplepower73 profile image

peoplepower73 4 years ago from Placentia California

I have a friend who is a dentist. When she gets a new patient, she talks to them for about 30 minutes to calm them. She said that she is O.K. when she works on a patient, but if she has to sit in her own chair, she gets nervous and panicky.

When I go to the dentist to have my teeth cleaned, I get White Coat syndrom when my blood pressure is taken. I don't like to have my blood pressure taken...go figure. Good hub, thanks for sharing. Voted up, useful and sharing.


georgescifo profile image

georgescifo 4 years ago from India

I am scheduled to meet a dentist tomorrow to pluck one of my teeth and this hub really injected the required confidence in my mind..thanks for this valuable hub...


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 4 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

I remember an elderly dentist, years ago, putting his knee on my chest in order to get a good grip while pulling out a back tooth. I thought he was going to have a heart attack.

After that, I changed my dentist.


WD Curry 111 profile image

WD Curry 111 4 years ago from Space Coast

Real men sit still for shots, especially after the Valium kicks in.


Janine Huldie profile image

Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

I am 35 years old and gave birth to 2 kids, but still get nervous when having to go the the dentist. I think my fear lies in the fact that as a small child I actually had so many cavities in my baby teeth that I needed a baby root canal, which supposedly isn't even something that can be done, plus I had braces as an adolescent. So you put that all together and not a huge fan of the dentist. That said thank you for this informative hub that gives someone like me a fighting chance at calming some of those nerves. Voted up and shared too!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi Larry! lol! scare yourself into the dentist chair! what a great idea! thanks as always, nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi DzyM, that sounds like a nightmare! in fact my mouth is beginning to feel funny! haha! all tingly and horrible! yes its those kind of experiences at the dentist that can drive you nuts, I am so glad you got strong teeth and don't need to go, thanks!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi Jackie, that's great, my mum did the same, was scared to death of the dentist and then went and had a filling without any novocaine! haha! thanks!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi Linda, lol! yes I totally agree! I am always scared that he is going to pull my jaw down to far! thanks as always, nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi Vinaya, hope it all went okay, and thanks for reading,, cheers nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi peoplepower, lol! oh dear that sounds like you hate the whole experience! hope this helped, and thanks!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi george, (groan) injected! haha! good luck with the tooth!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi christopher, oh my God I remember that too! my last dentist did that with my wisdom tooth! I changed him! thanks as always, nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi WD, lol! yes the valium certainly calms you down! thanks again, nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi Janine, thanks so much, that sounds awful that's why you have the fear of the dentist, I don't blame you either! lol!


Melovy profile image

Melovy 4 years ago from UK

Nell, your suggestions here are really good, particularly the breathing exercises you suggest - deep and through your nose. One of my daughters does breathing exercises to help prevent asthma, and lately I learned that deep breathing literally changes your brainwaves - I think from Beta to Alpha state.

Can I also recommend EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique.) I once had this for fear of dentists and since then have even been able to get teeth filled without aesthetic.


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida

Good tips, here! I have another one...my dentist has those acoustical tile ceilings. I count the little holes in each panel. I also use self hypnosis. I have had lots of dental work done, because of poor habits over the years in caring for my teeth, and now I pay the price!

I voted this UP, and will share.


midget38 profile image

midget38 4 years ago from Singapore

Great tips Nell, I'll never fear the dentist again! Thanks for sharing.


Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 4 years ago from Central Texas

Wonderful tips -- but for those of us who are terrified of dentists -- well, still working on that one. A bad experience as a child (tied in the dentist chair and teeth pulled) has wrecked me for all time as to dentists. Like I said -- still trying to logically get past my fear! Great Hub with super info. Best/Sis


alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 4 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

You forgot the essential kit, three items you need to assemble for visiting the dentist:(a) mortgage agreement (useful in UK/USA); (b) rabbit's foot to stroke the area affected; (c) comfort blanket for the nervous/hysterically minded. The patient will need to agree the extent of (a) to be paid on completion, (b) and (c) are optional and need to be left at reception before going onto the... ch-chair (swoon)!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi Melovy, I haven't heard of that technique, I will go and take a look, thanks. I also get asthma so I do the breathing thing too, glad you liked it and thanks!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi Melovy, I haven't heard of that technique, I will go and take a look, thanks. I also get asthma so I do the breathing thing too, glad you liked it and thanks!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi mary, that's a really good idea, my dentist also plays music and has a lovely picture of the beach and ocean on the ceiling! lol! it certainly works for me, thanks so much, nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi midget, glad you found it helpful, thanks


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi Angela,that sounds awful! no wonder you hate the dentist! I have had nightmare situations with a dentist too, these tips did help me this time, thanks as always, nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi alan, haha! yes I forgot all those! luckily I have social at the moment so I always make sure I go to the dentist when I am on that! crafty me! thanks!


annerivendell profile image

annerivendell 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

I was a dental nurse for years and was always interested at how many patients who were terrified of "the needle" sported tattoos and/or body piercings! I never had any fear of the dentist even as a kid and couldn't understand why people did. I was more understanding when I worked with dentists though and it was usually my job to reassure patients before their appointments. 99.9% of nervous patients came out smiling though and wondered why they'd been so frightened.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi anne, that's a very good point about the tattoos. I think its the fact that its teeth that are being seen too. the pain threshold in the mouth is so much more sensitive. its great to hear from a dental nurse, and see the other side of how people are scared and then afterwards wonder why they were, thanks so much for reading, nell


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

I've been luck enough never to have a fear of the dentist. Sure, some of the treatments can cause some pain, but so can any medical procedure. But you have some excellent suggestions for those whose fear is keeping them from getting proper dental care. Voting this Up and Useful.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi alocsin, thanks so much, I never did have a fear of the dentist, but then I had a terrible experience with a filled tooth over an abcess, so that scared the living daylights out of me! lol! but now I don't mind, nell


bac2basics profile image

bac2basics 4 years ago from Spain

Hi Nell. Another great hub.I am lucky in the fact I don´t mind going to the dentist, as would rather just get rid of the pain of toothache or from an abscess...I have had some painful treatment here I must admit, so changed my dentist PDQ. Don´t forget the floating not forcing advice for getting into the dentists surgery and treatment room...think I´m going to have to do a hub to explain this when I have got over the trauma of a massive forest fire that ripped through Valencia 3 weeks ago and hit my area really badly. I´m still on with getting repairs done and clearing up operations. Nice to see your smiling face when I eventually got back on line and read your latest hub. I have to say Nell, that I do feel an affinity with some of the hubbers I follow , and you are one of them, I feel like we are friends even though all we do is read and comment on each others hubs. Voted you up as always Nell. Keep em coming.


Green Art profile image

Green Art 4 years ago

I've had my share of dental work over the years. I tell people I should be a Queen by now for all the crowns I have! I'm one of those who grew up having teeth with deep grooves in them so everything I ate stuck to them.

I practice deep breathing while in the dentist chair. It's always worked for me. Great Hub! Voted UP and useful!


p10kabhijita profile image

p10kabhijita 4 years ago from India

Very useful hub. 5 minutes of overcoming fear can help you smile freely all your life. Must go to a dentist and brush thoroughly with quality toothbrushes like Oral-B :) Great Hub! voted up


lilyfly profile image

lilyfly 4 years ago from Wasilla, Alaska

Dear Nell, I always love your hubs! I sympathize for those that can't afford to go to the Dentist, At least my teeth are O.K., but I see some really bad cases... love yaz, lily


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi bac, that's awful! I hadn't heard about that over here, are you okay? hope it didn't get your house, what a nightmare! its great to hear from you, I have been so busy I am so far behind with catching up, glad you came by, thanks nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi lily, I tend to wait until I am on Social then I get it for nothing! lol! nice to see you, nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Thansk p10, that's great advice! thanks for reading, cheers nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi Green Art, deep breathing really does work, I learned the technique when having my son, and have kept to it ever since, thanks so much, nell


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

Good idea in suggesting to rub the arms. I find this to be relaxing in general and it will surely make the trip more tolerable. Very useful hub and voted up.


bac2basics profile image

bac2basics 4 years ago from Spain

Hi Nell. Thank you for your concern. For some reason this horrendous fire didn´t make the British press despite destroying 40 to 50.000 hectares of beautiful countryside. Yes it did get me. The house suffered some damage and the garden a lot, plus everything around the border of my land was completely incinerated. I was evacuated from my villa and not allowed back until almost a week later...needless to say it has been very difficult getting mains services and Internet reinstalled and I have worked like a dog from dawn to dusk trying to clean up and get things back to as normal as possible. If you Google " fire in Valencia" you may have a bit more of an idea of just how bad it was. It really was a living nightmare and something I never want to go through again.


Green Lotus profile image

Green Lotus 4 years ago from Atlanta, GA

This is so interesting Nell. I have to say, I never read any horror stories about dentists in the US until now! I do think dental practices have become "gentler" over the years, and I even know some who advertise that they use laughing gas (which is quite a trip), but people will always have phobias. Rated up and useful :)


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Thanks teaches, yes I find it really soothing, and its one of the things that makes me calm down enough to sit in the dentist chair! lol! thanks for reading, cheers nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi Annie, Yes I just went over to take a look, and saw the damage done to Dos Aguas, that was some fire! I am so glad you are okay, but sorry about your house. That must have been a nightmare having to stay away for a week not knowing what the damage was, how awful to see it coming nearer and nearer and not being able to do anything about it, I have no idea why it wasn't on the news over here, really odd, they normally show something like that, you take care and I am glad you are getting things sorted, nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi Hilary, now I could use some of that! lol! yes I have had a bad experience with a dentist, it was awful, the pain was immense, never again! my dentist is lovely now, thanks as always, nell


bac2basics profile image

bac2basics 4 years ago from Spain

Thanks Nell. Dos aguas is just at the other side of the mountain from my house. As the fire got nearer you could hear the roaring of the flames, and when it started to creep down from the top of the mountain next to my house, and reached the next one below I knew we would have to evacuate and it was out of control. Thanks again for your kindness, and yes it is odd that there was no coverage in the UK. Maybe the government in Madrid blocked it because they are ashamed they didn´t launch the special fire fighting planes when it became obvious it was out of control on the first day, instead of waiting until the 4th day to put them in the air !!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi Annie, wow! after looking at the photos it really brought it home to me exactly what happened, I can't believe they took four days! what were they thinking? maybe they did show it over here on the late news, but only briefly and I missed it, but still. this should put them in a better state of alert for the next fire, hopefully there won't be one, thanks for coming back, nell


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Thank you for the tips, Nell. Visiting the dentist is one of my least favorite activities. I'm in the middle of getting a dental problem treated now, so I appreciate your suggestions for keeping calm!


girishpuri profile image

girishpuri 4 years ago from NCR , INDIA

Nell, how you read my mind, i am always scared, when ever i plan to visit dentist, thanks for the tips, but i am sure i will forget your advice, the moment i will enter the dr's cabin....lol


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi Alicia, lol! oh dear! good luck and I am glad you found it helpful, nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi girishpuri, lol! never mind, maybe you will be calm when you have finished getting your teeth done!


thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 4 years ago from West Virginia

Voting this up, useful, and interesting Nell. Oh Nell, these are some great tips, but I hate the dentist. I have a bad tooth and the last time I went, I couldn't even stand the sounds. They hurt my teeth so bad. I haven't been back. I am waiting on my wife to get her settlement. That way, I will have enough case to be put asleep:) It may just be me, but there seems to be a little joy with the dentist when they cause you pain.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi lyric, yes I agree with you! I am sure the dentist does it deliberately! lol! you poor thing, I know how you feel, they hurt me too, an abcess covered by a filling! how painful was that? I hope you manage to get them sorted out and hopefully be able to use the stuff to go to sleep, thanks for reading, cheers nell


mythbuster profile image

mythbuster 4 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

Great tips here, Nell. I will try these suggestions before and during my next trip to the dentist (coming up soon ugh).


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi mythbuster, glad you found it helpful, even though its one of those things we all hate! lol! thanks!


IntegrityYes 4 years ago

I voted way up!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Thanks as always Integrity, be over in a min! lol!


ignugent17 profile image

ignugent17 4 years ago from Central Illinois , USA

Nell Rose I will visit my dentist next week and I am really shaking. I do hope your tips will help me to go to the dentist's office. I agree with you about irrational fear and I will convince my mind that they are there to help. Thank you for this hub! :-)


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi ignugent, you will be fine, don't worry, its more scary thinking about it than actually being there, these tips really do work, good luck and let me know how you get on? thanks!


IntegrityYes 4 years ago

That is great news, Nell. HAH-HAH!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Lol! Thanks Integrity!


IntegrityYes 4 years ago

You rock so hard, Nell.


DDE profile image

DDE 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

I am always calm when I visit the dentist thanks for helpful ideas


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Thanks again DDE, nell


moonlake profile image

moonlake 2 years ago from America

I use to hate dentist until I got a good one that never hits a nerve and can do a root canal without gas and never hurt.

Good ideas for seeing a dentist voted up.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England Author

Thanks moonlake, yes these days they are much better aren't they? have a great weekend :)

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