Most Common Dental Phobias

woman with dark short hair looking down, hand on mouth, appearing nervous

We know that most people don’t love going to the dentist. While for some people it feels like a necessary chore, there are others out there who are truly terrified of going to the dentist’s office. This condition is called dental phobia, and it can make people put off seeing a dentist for months, even years at a time, which means putting their health at risk.

Symptoms of dental phobias include not being able to sleep the night before an appointment, feeling overwhelmed when you get to the dentist’s office, and feeling physically ill before an appointment.

There are numerous types of dental phobias. Here is a list of the most common:

Fear of Pain

Some people fear the potential pain of dental treatment, even when they’re just going in for a cleaning or X-rays.

Negative Past Experiences

Some people have had negative experiences at a dental office when they were younger, and it’s shaped the way they perceive the dentists as adults.

Fear of Losing Control

Some people fear the feeling of helplessness, especially when it is attached to medical treatment. For these folks, being having to sit in a dental chair for an extended period of time can seem terrifying.

Fear of Dental Equipment

Some people are spooked by the dental equipment itself, which might seem strange and unfamiliar.

Fear of Loud Noises

Some people dread the loud drilling noises that accompany certain dental work, like when getting a cavity filled.


Some people dread their dentist examining their mouth because they’re ashamed of their dental health.

Strategies for Overcoming Dental Phobia

While having a dental phobia is no fun at all, there are things you can do to make going to the dentist a much better experience:

  • Meditate for a few minutes the night before your appointment, and again right before the appointment if you’re able to.
  • Stay away from caffeinated drinks in the days leading up to your appointment, since caffeine will make you hyper-alert and on edge.
  • Listen to soothing music or podcasts while you’re in the dentist’s chair.
  • Talk with your dentist before, during, and after the appointment to make sure you understand what’s happening at every step of the way.
  • Consider sedation dentistry to help you feel more calm while receiving treatment.

If you think you might suffer from a dental phobia, contact Arlington Dental Center today so we can discuss how best to serve you.


Leave a Reply

Metro Accessible | Located Across from Virginia Square