I am somewhat of an expert in this field. For 20 years I installed computers in Dental offices. I have visited over 400 Dental offices and met with thousands of Dental professionals. They all agree that "Fear of the Dentist" exists. Many Dental practices specialize in "Fearful Patients" and go to great lengths to make your visits less painful and less scary. Try looking for one of those offices. For me though, I believe the single most important factor in overcoming your fear is "getting to know your Dentist". Schedule a visit just to talk to your Dentist. If the office will not schedule a "pre-visit" then choose another Dentist. Knowing the people in a dental office will go a long way to easing your fear. When I make an appointment, the office usually books an entire hour because they know that Dr Joe is going to spend 20 minutes doing dentistry and 40 minutes talking about dogs, computers, cooking and whatever.