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MANAGING DENTAL FEAR AND PHOBIA
The information contained on this web site
is for educational purpose only and is not meant to serve as
delivery of professional care. The information in this
Resource Page should not be relied upon to make decisions
about your health that is Dental health. It is not a
substitute for medical or dental advice.
Always consult your dentist about your individual
condition(s) and/or circumstances.
Scared of Going to the Dentist?
The Feel Good Guide to going to the Dentist
Doc - 'I Hate Dentists' - The Feel Good Guide to Going to Dentist.
If, like most people, you experience some degree of anxiety
when it comes time to see your dentist, the following suggestions
can help you to relax before and during dental treatment. What's important
is to recognise your anxiety, accept it as a common reaction to an
uncertain situation and learn to master it.
1. Start by sharing your feelings with your dentist and
dental hygienist. Let them know that you are fearful, tense,
or anxious so that they can tailor their treatment and their
pace to your needs. Often, a pain reliever can be given if
it's pain you fear.
2. Set aside a stress-free time for your dental visit - a
time when you won't be rushed, physically strained, or
troubled by other concerns.
3. Being friendly and sociable helps establish trust and
warmth, both of which can do wonders in allaying your fears
and in reducing tension. You might also have a close friend
or family member accompany you to your appointment to make
you more at ease.
4. Try to identify your specific fears and concerns. While
these fears are very understandable, it is important to
recognise that they often are not realistic given the
modern, pain-free techniques now used in dentistry.
5. Get a good night's sleep the day before and eat a light
breakfast the day of your appointment. To allow
unconstrained movement, wear loose, comfortable clothes.
Especially avoid wearing constricting necklines, such as
6. Schedule short dental appointments by having different
procedures performed on different days, if possible. Also
arrange to break from lengthy procedures now and then.
7. Use visualisation to feel more comfortable and relaxed
both before and during a dental visit. You can focus on a
relaxing scene from a favourite vacation spot or activity
and hold it before your "mind's eye" during treatment.
8. During the dental visit, practise distraction and
relaxation techniques to take your mind off the treatment
and to reduce tension. You might focus, for instance, on
such pleasant distractions as soft music or a colorful
9. Ask the dentist or hygienist to explain each step of the
dental examination or procedure. The more you know about the
reasons for a certain procedure and what will be done during
it, the more confident and relaxed you'll be.
10. Once the dental visit is over, praise yourself for a job
well done! You might also treat yourself to a special reward
for overcoming your dental anxiety.
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10 Tips to Help You Overcome Dentist
1. Tell the dentist about your fears. This information will
help the dentist determine how to best manage and address
those fears. By letting the dentist know exactly why the
experience is difficult for you, you will feel more control
in the examination chair.
2. Remember that dental procedures have greatly improved in
the past few years. Modern dentistry offers new methods and
treatment options to make you feel comfortable.
3. Your dentist can explain the entire procedure to you
beforehand, as well as walk you through step-by-step while
the procedure is being performed. You always have the right
to fully understand the work being done on your teeth.
4. Consider additional medication to relax. Many dentists
recommend nitrous oxide, sedation or anti-anxiety medicine
for extremely nervous patients. Find a dentist who offers
these options to help you get through the visit.
5. Find a dentist you are comfortable with and establish a
trusting relationship. There are many personalities in the
dental profession. Find a dentist who makes you feel at ease
and is willing to work with you on your fears.
6. Breathe deeply and try to relax. Some dentists recommend
practicing relaxation techniques before and during the
appointment. Other dentists find that listening to music, or
scheduling an appointment first thing in the morning, before
the stresses of the day add up, also help patients to relax.
7. Talk to the dentist about stopping if you're
uncomfortable. Many of the dentists surveyed said they
establish a signal to "stop" with their patients. This puts
you in control of the procedure and alerts the dentist if
you're uncomfortable or need to take a break during the
8. Visit the dentist regularly to prevent problems. For
fearful patients, just going for a check up can be
nerve-wracking, but the more you go to the dentist for
routine cleanings, the more likely you are to avoid larger
problems that result in extensive procedures.
9. Visit the office and talk to the staff before your first
appointment. You should feel free to meet with the dentist
and to ask questions before scheduling your appointment.
Meeting the dentist and his or her staff first will help you
find a dentist you like and trust.
10. Go slow. Dentists are happy to go slow with nervous
patients. If possible, make sure your first visit is a
simple one, such as a cleaning. This will help you build
your relationship with the dentist before going in for a
more difficult procedure.
METHODS OF OVERCOMING DENTAL PHOBIA
If you are anxious about dental
treatment then you are not alone. Between 6-14% of the
population avoid attending the dentist because of anxiety
about treatment. Between 45-55% of patients who attended the
dentist are anxious in the dental environment.
The reasons people fear attending the dentist are varied and
include pain, cost of treatment, lack of control while in
the dental chair, embarrassment and fear of the unknown. The
cause of dental anxiety is usually a previous bad
experience, but can be caused indirectly through horror
stories about dental treatment from family, friends and even
The fear of treatment may appear to the
patient to be irrational, uncontrollable and without obvious
cause. Such patients will only attend for treatment when in
extreme discomfort or never at all. As a result their dental
condition deteriorates to the point where their appearance
is affected. This can cause embarrassment and loss of
self-confidence which in turn can cause problems socially
and at work.
For other patients, the fear is not so
deep seated. They can explain the cause of their anxiety and
can usually control it to some extent. However, they are
still anxious about dental treatment and will try and avoid
it where possible.
Fear of dental treatment can be overcome by a variety of
treatment methods which are described on this website.
When you make the appointment to see the dentist, tell the
receptionist you are nervous about treatment. This first
appointment will usually be to discuss your fears about
treatment and to do an initial examination of your teeth.
From this appointment a provisional treatment plan can be
made. Depending on what you and the dentist decide, this
plan can include one or more of the the treatment methods
outlined below.Initially, you may wish to have treatment
using one or more of these described methods. However, the
ultimate aim should be to reduce your anxiety to a level
that it is possible to have treatment without any
assistance. This is not possible in all cases, but where it
can be achieved it is very satisfying for both patient and
There are several methods available to help you overcome
your fears while dental treatment is being done.
This is the simplest method of treatment for nervous
patients. It involves a careful and sympathetic approach
from the dentist, with explanations of what is being done
and allowing the patient control over the procedure.
Some patients may want to bring a friend along for support.
It may also be possible to play relaxing music or to watch a
video while having treatment.
This involves the use of oral sedative drugs e.g. diazepam,
midazolam, which are taken before treatment. They can also
be taken the night before treatment to help you sleep.
The sedative effect of these drugs is unpredictable and can
vary between individuals. Because the drugs are taken by
mouth it is impossible to quickly increase or decrease the
They are best used for sedation the night before treatment
to ensure restful sleep or to produce light sedation during
treatment where anxiety levels are low.
While under the effects of the drug, the patient must be
accompanied by a responsible adult and refrain from driving
and operating machinery.
This involves administering a sedative drug in order to
produce a very relaxed state so that treatment can be
carried out. The drug also causes short term memory loss so
that very little of the treatment can be remembered.
The drug is administered through one of the veins in the arm
or hand. The amount of drug given varies between individuals
but enough is injected to produce relaxed state within five
minutes. Because the drug acts very quickly, more can be
given if necessary to increase the feeling of relaxation.
The effects of the drug can last up eight hours after and
the patient must be accompanied by a responsible adult and
refrain from driving, operating machinery or other
responsible activities during this time.
It can be used on most healthy adults but must be avoided in
patients with severe lung disease, some heart problems,
obesity or in pregnancy. It is also not suitable for
children or the elderly.
This type of sedation is very safe as the patient is not
unconscious as in general anaesthesia. It works for the vast
majority of patients and it is a very effective way of
providing dental treatment. It is also very effective in
treating patients who gag easily.
This involves giving a mixture of nitrous oxide ('laughing
gas') and oxygen which are inhaled through a rubber face
mask. The nitrous oxide reduces anxiety and improves
co-operation, without causing unconsciousness.
The effects of the nitrous oxide wears off very quickly and
the patient can leave the surgery without the need for an
This technique can used for most patients but must be
avoided in those with colds and other respiratory problems,
psychiatric treatment, vitamin B12 deficiency and in
pregnancy. This form of sedation is particularly useful for
treating anxious children.
General anaesthesia (GA) involves being 'put to sleep' in
order to provide dental treatment. It is only available in
hospitals and specialist centres, and must be administered
by a qualified anaesthetist. Because of the slight risks
involved with GA, it is only used where there is no other
option. The procedure is usually limited to adults who are
undergoing complex treatments (e.g. extraction of wisdom
teeth) or are not suitable for the other methods of
treatment described. It is also used to treat anxious
children. Treatment provided under GA is usually limited to
extractions and simple fillings.
This involves the use of hypnotherapy to reduce anxiety.
It is very effective in people who are respond well to
hypnosis. It may involve one or more preliminary sessions
before treatment is attempted. The hypnosis may be done by a
hypnotist working with a dentist or by the dentist if he is
qualified in hypnotherapy.
This type of treatment is not widely available and can be
time consuming and expensive.
This form of treatment is used to treat a whole range of
phobias and anxiety disorders. The psychotherapist will
initially try and locate the origin of your fears. They will
then follow a program of therapy designed to overcome or
control your anxiety sufficiently for you to undergo dental
Acupuncture is a medical treatment which can be used to
relieve the symptoms of a variety of physical and
psychological conditions including dental anxiety. Each
patient's case is assessed by the practitioner and treatment
will be tailored to the individual.
A Simple 5
Minute Cure for Dental Anxiety
Many of us feel extremely anxious when
we think of visiting the dentist. This fear is the cause of
procrastination in scheduling dental appointments, missed or
cancelled appointments, and difficulty in tolerating
procedures during dental care.
Although many dentists will try to convince you that these
fears are unfounded, we believe that there are actually many
good reasons (even aside from painful past dental
experiences) to feel anxious about visiting the dentist. By
understanding these reasons and utilizing our simple
techniques, dental anxiety can become a thing of the past!
The oral cavity is one of the most tender and most
vulnerable parts of our body. We feed ourselves through it
and kiss our loved ones with it--the mouth is literally a
path to our innermost self. The tongue is the only organ in
our body which is fully developed at birth and functions
fully during the first 2 months of life. Our infant lives
are dependent upon it for nourishment, to communicate and
express our feelings, and to explore the world (We all know
how infants just seem to put everything they touch into
their mouths!). During this early part of our lives, we are
helpless and dependent, unable to express ourselves fully,
and vulnerable to pain outside of our control.
Does this describe the feelings aroused by a dental visit?!
During dental care, we place our mouths in a very vulnerable
position. If we feel helpless, these infant experiences of
dependency and vulnerability will arise from our unconscious
minds. The result: anxiety.
A visit to the dentist is unlike any other medical
experience. We place ourselves in a physically vulnerable
position (on our backs), and suspend our usual physical
boundaries by allowing the dentist to "invade" our bodies.
We render ourselves unable to communicate in the usual way
(since our mouths are what's being tended to), and
anticipate pain, while remaining conscious and fully alert.
The physical proximity of the dentist may be perceived as
threatening, and if we add to the mix the negative
associations many of us have with doctors or other authority
figures, it is easy to see how feelings of anxiety might
Most of us agree that anxiety and fear notwithstanding, the
benefits of timely dental visits far outweigh the cost of
avoiding them. How then, do we cope with the anxiety we feel
when faced with a dental appointment?
Eliminating Acute Anxiety
This exercise is intended to give you control over the
physical discomfort of anxiety.
1. Before your dental
appointment, imagine yourself in the anxiety producing
In order to eliminate anxiety, one must first recognize
the feeling of being anxious.
Sit in a chair in a quiet place and picture yourself in
a stressful situation, dental or non-dental. For
example, a stressful dental situation might be either
anticipating a dreaded dental experience or remembering
a past dental experience. A non-dental example might be
speaking in front of a large group of people.
At first, try standing "outside" of yourself and watch
yourself in the difficult situation. Then try to
experience the situation yourself, looking at it from
Once you feel anxious, or physical discomfort, go on to
2. Locate where in your body the anxiety 'lives,'
such as a tense neck or back, clenched fists, nervous
stomach, unconsciously holding your breath, or
dizziness. Close your eyes. Pretend to travel inside of
your body and find the place where the stress seems to
"live". This is often the stomach, chest, head, hands or
arms. This area feels different and separate from the
rest of your body.
3. Measure the anxiety on a 1-10 scale. Rate the
degree of discomfort on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10
being the worst. This will allow you to monitor your
4. This step is important: Explore the "size,
shape, borders and texture" of the anxiety.
The area of discomfort feels different and separate from
the rest of your body. Try to isolate it and explore its
"borders" and "shape". Is it "large" or "small"? "Round"
or "square"? Localized or diffuse? How deep does it go?
All the way to your back? Or is it shallow and just
under the surface? Is it a solid, liquid or gas?
5. Manipulate the anxiety: make it larger,
smaller, softer, etc.
Now that you have a clear idea of the stress you're
feeling, you can do things to change it. First, make it
bigger. Take all the concentration you need to do this,
and when you're ready, rate it on a scale of 1-10. (It
will probably be less than 10.) Then, make the area
smaller, like a golf ball or an egg. Now, you can move
it around, forward and back, or side to side. As you
begin to gain control of the anxiety, you can begin
opening a path from where the anxiety "lives" to your
throat. Now, move the spot of discomfort to your throat,
then take a deep breath and blow it out of your mouth.
6. Re-measure the anxiety. Do your 1-10 rating.
By now, it will probably feel much less!
These steps give you some control over your anxiety, which
enables you to reduce it.
these tactics to overcome the fear of visiting a dentist
In some cases a step-by-step desensitization program can
eliminate severe fear of the dentist. Another option is
medication to help you relax for your appointments. Discuss
this possibility with your dentist.
"Your relationship with your dentist is based on trust, and
you should expect to be treated as an individual. Make
requests. Don't hesitate to ask for special treatment.
Children Who Fear the Dentist
Some children have a deep-seated fear of dentists, making
dental appointments a traumatizing experience. However, it
is important that children have regular dental checkups.
There are tips for dealing with children who have dental
anxiety or severe dental phobia, including:
Start dental checkups at an early
age, so the child will be comfortable and familiar with
Enforce good oral hygiene, so trips
to the dentist are minimal.
Be careful not to convey your fears
of the dentist to your child.
to treat a child's dental anxiety is to find a dentist who
specializes in pediatric care. Pediatric dentists have
special training that allows them to help anxious children
feel safe and secure during dental checkups and procedures.
They also offer kid-friendly offices, so the environment is
inviting and comfortable for children.
If not addressed during younger years, dental anxiety can
develop into severe dental phobia as one gets older. To
prevent bad oral hygiene later in life, the above
suggestions can work to calm your child's fear of dentists.
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What Causes Dental Anxiety and Phobia?
There are various reasons why people feel dental anxiety or dental phobia; some of the most common causes include:
There are various reasons why people feel dental anxiety or dental phobia; some of the most common causes include:
Pain (or the Fear of Pain) – Pain, or the fear of experiencing pain, is the leading cause of dental anxiety. No one wants to be exposed to a painful or uncomfortable situation, and even the idea of going through a painful treatment can cause a person to have severe anxiety attacks. The pain may be perceived (from hearing about the dental treatment experiences of other people), or may come from personal previous experiences with dental treatments.
Embarrassment – It can be embarrassing to open the mouth and show the whole oral cavity and especially if the teeth have been neglected and are not in perfect health. People who are conscious of how their teeth look like may feel even more uncomfortable and embarrassed about having their teeth thoroughly examined; hearing negative comments about poor dental health from the dentist can also be a cause for embarrassment. The truth is that an experienced dentist is accustomed to seeing such situations and should be very understanding and conscientious.
Fear of the Unknown/Helplessness – Facing an unknown or unfamiliar situation can cause anxiety attacks. If one does not have the necessary information about a dental treatment – and what the dental treatment involves – it can be easy to feel anxious, afraid, or helpless about the whole situation. The feeling of helplessness can also come from being “at the mercy” of the dentist on the dental chair, with the mouth wide open and not being able to see what is being done throughout the whole treatment’s duration.
Previous Experiences – A previously uncomfortable, painful, or embarrassing experience with going to the dentist (or going for a dental treatment) can play a huge role in the development of dental anxiety. When a person has, for example, previously experienced a painfully traumatic tooth extraction, that experience can stay on his mind for a long time – and can lead him or her to believe that all tooth extractions he may have to undergo in the future will have the same traumatic effect. Dental anxiety can then result from the idea of having to go through the same terrifying experience all over again.
Common Fears Associated with Dental Anxiety/Dental Phobia
Fear of the Dentist – Fear of the dentist can come from previously negative experiences. When you have been to a dentist who was did not have a particularly compassionate or caring attitude, it may be easy for you to assume that all other dentists are the same – and you may develop a fear of all dentists in general.
Pain – The fear of pain, or even anxiety that comes from the perception of pain, is one of the major concerns of those suffering from dental anxiety. The fear of pain can arise from a previously painful or uncomfortable experience during a dental treatment; this experience can stay in the mind for a long time, causing the sufferer from developing an aversion to dental treatments in general. Hearing about other people and their painful experiences with dental treatments can also trigger one’s mind into thinking that he or she will have the same painful experience.
Embarrassment – The fear of being embarrassed may come from a poor dental health condition; the simple act of allowing a dentist to examine your mouth can be the source of acute embarrassment if you know that bad teeth (or swollen gums, or bad breath) will be readily visible.
The Dental Drill – The vibration and noise that comes from the use of a dental drill can be enough to send someone with dental anxiety into a serious panic attack. The perception of pain can also accompany the fear of a dental drill – especially if a previous experience led to pain and discomfort with using a dental drill, in cases when the treatment area has not been successfully numbed prior to the actual treatment.
Needle Fear – Fear of needles may range from a general aversion to the use of needles, to the specific fear of having to experience a dental injection. The fear of needles is very closely related to the fear of experiencing pain, since the dental anxiety sufferer’s notion is that the use of needles/injections can cause a great amount of pain and discomfort.
Fear of the Sounds, Smells, and Sights of a Dental Office/Treatment – The specific smell that is associated with dental practices (most commonly the smell of eugenol or oil of cloves) may trigger memories of previously bad experiences with other dental practices; the sights and sounds of the dental equipment and gadgets used in a dental office can also be associated with uncomfortable or painful experiences that may in turn trigger panic attacks.
Losing Control – The fear of losing control while in “the mercy” of the dentist on a dental chair can cause someone with dental anxiety to avoid getting dental treatments done; this is especially true for individuals who have a need to always be in control of the situations they are in. The fear of losing control may come from previously negative experiences with the dentists, or with having to face an unknown situation (an unfamiliar dental treatment).
Fear of Panic Attacks – Panic attacks can be terrifying and traumatic episodes, and those who have experienced them may be even more fearful of placing themselves in situations that can trigger these paralysing situations.
Brushing Teeth – For some people, the simple act of brushing teeth can trigger bad dental treatment experiences – causing them to avoid doing what should be a part of an essential daily routine. Concerns about brushing teeth may also arise from gag reflex problems, or from not liking the taste of toothpaste products.
Gagging – A sensitive gag reflex can make it very difficult for a person to get the dental treatment he or she needs. The gagging can be due to physiological or psychological factors (or both); the gagging reflex can be stronger when combined with a feeling of anxiety, and the fear of not being able to breathe properly while a dental treatment is being undertaken.
Choking – The fear of choking can some from a previous near-choking or actual choking experience; this fear is magnified even more with the idea that there is loss of control when a dental treatment is being done, or when the dentist’s tools are inside the mouth.
Numbness – The numb feeling that is necessary for certain dental treatments can trigger a feeling of fear for some individuals, who may feel that they are losing control of the numb parts – not being able to feel anything can be a weird or terrifying experience for some. On the other hand, the inability to achieve numbness can also be a concern, as some people may think that they will still be able to feel pain even when anaesthesia is administered.
Making a Fool of Oneself/Crying – Related to the fear of embarrassment or losing control, some dental anxiety sufferers have a fear of crying uncontrollably in response to a dental treatment – and are afraid of making fools of themselves.
Negative Reaction to Local Anaesthesia – Allergies and negative reactions to anaesthetics, especially those that have previously been experienced, can cause a person to be fearful of going through the same experience all over again.
Fear of Being Awake (During Dental Treatment) – The idea of being knocked out cold and staying asleep throughout the duration of a dental treatment may make the experience easier to bear, so the notion of being awake – and experiencing all of the uncomfortable sensations – during the dental treatment can be a source of fear.
Extensive Treatment – Some people (especially those who have consciously avoided dentists for a long period of time) are afraid of having to go through more extensive treatments after a specific dental treatment is done. A fear of hearing a serious diagnosis, and the need for even more treatments, can prevent a person with dental anxiety from going to the dentist in the first place.
Unnecessary Treatment – This is the fear of having to undergo treatments that are not really deemed necessary for a dental concern, or making matters even worse with dental treatments.
Cost – The high cost that is perceived to be associated with getting good dental health care may cause dental anxiety patients to feel apprehensive with going for a dental checkup (or dental treatment) in the first place.
Special Needs/Concerns – Those with special needs, such as severe medical conditions, learning or physical disabilities, or psychological concerns, may find it difficult to go through the effort of going to the dentist for dental treatment. Finding a dentist who is qualified in treating the specific special need/concern will go a long way in making the whole experience much more rewarding.
Previous Abuse Experience – People who have experienced abuse of any kind (physical, psychological, or verbal) from a dentist may find it very difficult to trust dentists again – even if they are dealing with a different dentist this time around. The traumatic experience may lead a person to avoid going to the dentist altogether, to ensure that the abuse will not be repeated in any way possible.
How to cope with Dental Phobia and Dental Fear
Your tooth aches.Its time to visit the dentist. What is it that you fear? You may have a specific fear , such as needles. But for lot of people, it may be everything. Not to worry, because all these tends to be made up of lots of individual fears. What is Dental Phobia ?
Fear of the dentist: Fear of the dentist is pretty common. Some of them have had bad experience in the dental chair in the past. In general its very easy to assume that Dentist's are bad people. There's a theory called "CONSTRUCT THEORY" which says that people have tendency to describe certain expirences to a group of people who have certain things in common. But this constructs (e.g "evil" as apposed to "kind" and "bad" as apposed to "good" and so on ) are based on a very small observations and surveys. So unfortunately if you had horrible expirences in visiting 10 dentist's and one or two of them were in the downright horrible, this does not mean that all the dentist's confirm to this pattern.
Dental Phobia 1 Fear of sights, sounds and smell in the dental environment: Sights , sounds and smells are powerfull environmental triggers. If you suffer with dental phobias or fears merely evoking the images sounds and smells you associate with dentistry is enough to genrate intense feelings of anxiety or even panic
Dental Phobia 2 The Smell: If you think of typical dental surgery smell, then RELAX (its outdated now). But certain smell of some antiseptics are unavoidable. Nowadays its really a phobic friendly environment in the dental clinics. So take into account of the overall atmosphere of the place.
Dental Phobia 3 The sounds: Nowadays dental clinics are not so noisy as they used to be . You must take in mind that when noise is inserted in the mouth it sound much louder than it actually is . Its the dentists job to introduce all the equipments to you, regarding how they work and what noise they make, If he forgets to tell you about this don't hesitate to ask them. Sounds are subjective experiences. You all must be aware of the sound of your voice if you cover your ears. Most of them co-relate the sound of the dental equipment to the pain. This is done due to some past expirences which had pain. When ever the patient hears that sound the pain perception aggrevates even though this is physiologically impossible. Still if the sounds bother you , ask the dentist for a ipod or thing which can divert your attention from the sound. Nowadays in most of the clinics and hospitals a silent background music is played to make the atmosphere phobic friendly.
So no need to worry about sounds henceforth.
Dental Phobia 4 Needle phobia : You are not the one to have needle phobia its merely 10% of people share this fear. Not all dentist's in the world are good in giving painless injections so to overcome this matter topical anesthesia is been developed. By applying it the injections are seen cent per cent painless. Ask for it to the dentist and carry on the procedure. Once the injection starts working there is no pain and will find out that dental procedures are not so terrific as you were thinking. There are many different approaches and techniques , often used in combination such as hypnosis, systematic desensitization, deep breathing, visualization, and guided imagery, positive affirmations and reward systems.
Dental Phobia 5 Embarrassed? What dentist really thinks : Most of the people who suffer from dental phobia have long known: that "intense embarrassement due to poor dental status or percieved neglect,often with fear of negative social evaluation as chief compalint," This is extremely common among people suffering from dental phobia. Whatever caused the phobia intially leads to avoidence which in turn means no access to professional dental care, usually resulting in poorer oral health and at some stage the results of this neglect are perceived to be so embarrasing that its totally impossible to see the dentist even when in pain.
So its a humble request, Don't TORTURE yourself, be upfront about your fears and ask your dentist not to make any comments that you might construe as negative. There's absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about other factors which make a sense of shame and embarrassment , so common when it comes to dental fear and phobia may include an emphasis on beauty and perfection in mordern western society. It may help to know that from the operators ( that is the dentist's) perspective, the situation looks very different. They have been trained to help people who are expirencing problems with their teeth and gums. Its their job to fix these problems.
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