How to overcome dental fear

Oral health is important. Not only does looking after your teeth, gums and mouth keep you feeling fresh, but it also allows you to live without pain, and is generally a part of overall health and wellness. Poor oral health, on the other hand, can lead to aches and pains from dental cavities and gum disease. In some cases, poor oral health has also been linked with heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Because of this, it's incredibly important to address and diminish any dental fears, and to prevent developing a fear of going to the dentist.


If don't experience fear of the dentist, you may not understand. However, it is common. In fact, various dental fear assessments show that 45% of patients report having moderate dental fear.

Why do we develop dental fear?

The most common irrational fear relating to visiting the dentist include:

  • fear of needles/other objects
  • fear of needing future work done
  • fear of personal judgement
  • financial cost
  • fear of pain
  • helplessness and loss of control

When we attend our dental appointment, it should be associated with feelings of good health and being treated.

When we step in, our blood pressure should lower

- Jerry Ong

However, when walking into a dental clinic, we often feel the opposite. This is very common in hospital appointments too. We associate these places with bad news and ill health, which leads to anxiety, phobia and avoidance of appointments.

Below are some of the different ways we can develop irrational fears. Perhaps you will recognise some of these causes for other fears in your life.

  • Severe stress and/series of negative events - a person may experience severe stress or negative experiences relating to things/places/situations, but the stress may materialise as a phobia in a different thing/place/situation. Resulting in “displaced phobia”.
  • Unresolved issues - similar to above, where issues aren't resolved, the emotional energy is transferred to an unrelated phobia.
  • Fear of fear - also known as Phobophobia. As fear grows, they anticipate panic, which raises stress levels and the fear of fear becomes a vicious cycle.
  • Transmitted from another person - this is where a phobia has been learnt/mimicked from another person.
  • Past trauma - a painful past experience(s) causes a fear of the same situation/object/person/place. These experiences can sometimes be repressed in the person's memory.
  • Nature - some genetic research suggests we can be born with certain phobias, such as spiders and heights.

How do I know if I have a fear of the dentist?

One simple question to ask yourself is, “Does it have a significant impact on my life?”. Also, think, are you avoiding dental appointments entirely? Are you avoiding TV adverts relating to oral hygiene?

If you are still unsure then listen to your body, is there tension? A knot in your stomach? Sharper, shallower breathing? This will also be a good measure of whether you have just mild anxiety or a phobia of dental appointments.

Hypnotherapy for dental fear

Hypnosis is a state of mind enhanced by physical and mental relaxation, giving greater access to the subconscious mind. This is a natural state of deep relaxation that we all experience every day. Hypnotherapy is employing therapeutic techniques during hypnosis to bring positive changes.

Studies have shown hypnotherapy to be effective in reducing dental fear and anxiety. Hypnotherapy has also shown to be a proven way to overcome phobias. This is because hypnotherapy broadly works with the subconscious mind, which is the driving force for our behaviours, emotions and where all our memories are stored. Meaning, hypnotherapy can achieve very significant changes in your life. Also with the nature of hypnotherapy, underlying causes of dental fear can be effectively and efficiently addressed.

Rochester Hypnotherapy Clinic

At Rochester Hypnotherapy Clinic, you will also be taught how best to communicate with your dentist, helping the dentist to work with your discomfort and empathise with you. You will also be taught practical tools for relaxation you can use, this may include breathing techniques or something particular to the individual, such as listening to music. Also at Rochester Hypnotherapy Clinic, hypnotherapy can be extremely useful in helping prevent the development of dental fear.

For more information or to book a session, please get in touch.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Hypnotherapy Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Rochester, Kent, ME1 3EJ
Written by Andrew Laing, Rochester Hypnotherapy Clinic - BSc (Hons), HPD, NCFE
Rochester, Kent, ME1 3EJ

Andrew is a qualified Hypnotherapist who runs Rochester Hypnotherapy Clinic. Adopting an integrated approach using Hypnotherapy, NLP, TFT, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), EMDR, Counselling, and Psychotherapy to help clients with a full range of issues.

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