Dental Phobia

Dental phobia or fear of the dentist is a serious issue. It can lead to poor oral health resulting in tooth decay, broken teeth or gum disease.

The main treatments are cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), hypnotherapy and medication. CBT and hypnotherapy focus on 韓国歯科矯正 changing your perception of situations while medication lowers anxiety levels.


Dentophobia is often triggered by past traumatic dental experiences, especially during childhood. Some patients equate the sound of a drill or numbing injection with pain, and others misinterpret bodily sensations like palpitations as signs of a life-threatening illness.

Those who avoid dental treatment create a vicious cycle of poor oral health, and in some cases have other emotional problems, such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They are also more likely to suffer from heart disease and lung infections.

Psychotherapy treatments can help address dental anxiety and phobias, particularly exposure therapy. This involves gradually exposing the patient to situations and images that trigger a reaction – such as seeing pictures of teeth or going to the dentist – in a safe setting. This type of psychotherapy is often covered by insurance. Other behavioral techniques include calming music, distraction (such as watching TV or movies during treatment) and breathing and muscle relaxation exercises. Some therapists even use virtual reality to reduce anxiety, and dental tools that ease pain, such as DentalVibe.


The symptoms of dentophobia may vary from person to person, but they include feelings of extreme anxiety and fear when thinking about or visiting the dentist. The American Psychiatric Association lists dental phobia as a phobic disorder in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

Dental anxiety can lead people to avoid going to the dentist, which can result in severe oral health problems. Without regular visits, the teeth can develop tooth decay and other problems that require expensive treatment. These problems can also affect social life and career opportunities.

Neglecting oral care can be especially dangerous for children. They are more likely to have serious dental problems later in life, such as crooked or missing teeth, which can make them self-conscious and impact their social life. They are also more prone to gum disease, which can lead to infection and illness. They can even lose their teeth, which can have lasting effects on their self-esteem and confidence.


The good news is that dental anxiety is treatable. People with dental fear, or dentophobia, can often overcome it with a combination of methods including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), sedation dentistry, and hypnotherapy.

CBT works by changing negative thoughts and behaviours associated with dental care. It also teaches coping techniques to reduce stress and anxiety. Relaxation techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing and muscle relaxation can be helpful. Distraction techniques such as listening to music or watching television during treatment, counting objects on a picture mounted on the ceiling, or concentrating on a physical distraction like wiggling toes or fingers have also been successful.

For those who need extra support, psychological and behavioural treatment with a dentist trained in CBT may be recommended. These sessions are usually separated from the dental treatment by a short time period so that patients can experience their new behavioural skills and confidence in a safe environment before attending their dental appointment.


Patients with dental anxiety can benefit from regular, routine oral healthcare. However, people who have extreme fear of the dentist are unlikely to receive hygiene treatment, which can lead to gum disease and tooth decay. These untreated dental problems can be expensive to treat and often require anesthesia or sedation.

One way to manage anxiety about going to the dentist is to find a doctor that you trust. Some doctors are more empathetic than others and will go out of their way to make you feel comfortable. For example, they may remove their lab coats or other visual cues that could cause apprehension.

Other ways to reduce your anxiety include practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and muscle relaxation before you go to the dentist. You can also ask for someone to accompany you, which can help distract you from the procedure and reassure you. Exposure therapy, which involves exposing yourself to images or situations that trigger your symptoms, can also help you overcome your fears.