Tips To Help You Cope With Going To The Dentist

Does anyone actually enjoy going to the dentist?

I bet some people do, but I am not one of them.  Going to the dentist always fills me with fear, dread and trepidation.  It’s a weird thing, I generally feel ok after I have been but that ten minutes in the dentist’s chair or thirty minutes in the hygienist’s chair turns me into a nervous wreck.

While I am in that chair my body is rigid, my back is sweating I pinch my fingers and dig my nails into my skin so I can focus on that pain, rather than what is happening in my mouth.

I don’t really know why I am like this as I haven’t delved into it or retracked to explore why, but I do still have memories of going to the dentist as a child. In fact the memories I have, aren’t really positive ones.  One memory I have is when I must have been about six or seven perhaps, I had to have some teeth taken out because my mouth is quite small and wasn’t going to be able to accommodate all the teeth in there.  Seriously I remember being in the dentist waiting room crying because I was so scared and they literally picked me up on my chair crying and screaming and carried me into the dentists room.  What the hell was that about?  Whether it happened exactly like that I don’t really know, but that is certainly how I remember it.  I remember this massive black gas mask that was rubber and smelt disgusting and they forced it over my face to make me go to sleep.  Hmmm maybe this is why I don’t like going to the dentist…

My sister would to take the micky out of me when we used to go because she said my legs used to go up in the air as the dentist was looking in my mouth, guess that must have looked quite funny!!

I tripped over when I was about eight and chipped my front tooth and I was too scared to get it filled in until I was about thirteen or fourteen, actually after I gained the courage to get it done, the filling wore away after a few years and I didn’t get it done again.  I wish I was brave enough to get it done now but I’m still too scared, I’m case they break my tooth or something, I know I would look nicer without a chipped tooth lol.

So even now I hate going to the dentist.  I hate injections too.  I had two fillings once and made the dentist do it without an injection – it hurt.

I had to having a filling replaced last year and I was so scared. It was quite a big filling so I had to have an injection.  It was in my lower jaw and I went into complete stress because  it felt like my throat was closing up and I was going to suffocate and die. I was so frightened. It was awful, I had to really try and calm myself down so I didn’t have a panic attack in the dentists chair and completely freak out. Then I started worrying that the head might fall off one of the drill things and get stuck in my throat…

All that said, I still make sure that I go for regular six monthly check ups and I go to the hygienist every six months too. I just think if I left it and didn’t go then I might have to have fillings, or worse.

I know I’m not the only one who doesn’t like going, so I thought I’d think of some ways to make us feel better about it.  I went to the hygienist today and managed to cope ok, although it wasn’t enjoyable I survived it.


Try to get a recommendation from friends or family.  That is how I found my dentist surgery. A lovely lady I worked with also hated the dentist and she found a lady who was really gentle and patient.  I went to her and she really was.

Tell the dentist that you are scared. They have heard it all before so it won’t be new to them. They’ll be forewarned and will be sympathetic and gentle towards you.

Discuss a signal that you can use to communicate that you want the dentist to stop. You totally can’t tell the dentist to stop when you have a mouth full of fingers, drills, mirrors and suction machines. (Even though the dentist expects you to answer questions sometimes.)  One dentist I went to told me to put my arm up if I wanted him to stop so you could try this.

I read a great idea somewhere that you could take your phone/iPod and headphones and play music. This is a brilliant solution as it will completely take your mind off what it going on.

I personally shut my eyes because then I can distance myself from the situation and partly pretend I’m not there.

Breathe deeply, slowly and purposefully, this can help you feel calm.

Remember that once that check up is done, you don’t have to have another one for at least another six months.

Once that check up is done, feel proud of yourself and successful because you faced your fear, you did it! You can do it again!


  1. Fab tips, Fiona! I had to have 4 fillings a couple of weeks ago (I’m a sugar fiend) and I have never experienced fear like it and I’m scared of most things! My whole body shook with fear. Fortunately I’m fine with just checks ups, it’s when work is needed that I struggle. I’m not even bothered by needles either so it’s an odd reaction really.

    I did inform the dentist I was really frightened and we had a conversation about what would work for me. I explained how I’d like to know what was happening, when it was happening and how long it would happen for. This just works for me.

    We also agreed if I waved my hands that I needed a break and she would stop immediately.

    It didn’t stop me being frightened but it prevented a panic attack. Really great advice 🙂


    • Aww thank you 😊 I wonder what it is about going to the dentist that makes us so frightened, it’s such a horrible feeling isn’t it. I’m sorry that you had to go through the trauma of four fillings but I am glad that you have a sympathetic and understanding dentist who took the time to help you to feel better while you were having your treatment. Thank you for your kind comments 🙂


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