Are you afraid of the dentist?


The top five phobias according to Statistic Brain are as follows :

  1. Glossophobia – public speaking
  2. Necrophobia – dying
  3. Arachnophobia – spiders
  4. Achluophobia – the dark
  5. Acrophobia – heights

“Dental phobia” is tricky to define as anxiety could be due any number of things about a trip to the dentist. Besides which, it’s fairly understandable why some people might be anxious at the very thought of it.

At Cleveland Orthodontics, many adults contact us to ask about modern brace treatments such as Invisalign and white braces. It is not unusual for them to tell us that it took years for them to pluck up the courage.

It’s a huge blow to your overall health if you don’t visit a dentist regularly for treatment and advice. Most of us expect to keep our teeth for life these days… finding a dentist that you are comfortable with is the best way to achieve that.

According to NHS England, one in four of us suffer from fear of the dentist in the UK. If you are one of them, read on…there is good news to bring!

Gentle dentistry

CalmDentists are much better at helping nervous patients these days. We know that by helping people to cope with their anxieties we can provide better treatments and advice.

Some practices have developed a special interest in helping nervous patients and often promote this as “gentle dentistry”.

Here are a few ways that “gentle dentistry” works.

·      A welcoming practice

Many practices work hard to create a comfortable waiting room and have a welcoming team at the reception desk to greet their patients.

At your first appointment your dentist may talk with you about what it is you are anxious about and about your past experiences at the dentist.

Once your dentist has had a look in your mouth, any treatment can be planned to around to suit your needs. Starting with simple short visits might be a good way forward to build your confidence.

·      Dental sedation

Inhalation sedation (“gas”) and intravenous sedation are sometimes used to help patients have dental treatment.

These are not good options for everyone but your dental team will have undergone special training in dental sedation and will be able to advise on the best way forwards.

·      Amazing new technology!

If it’s dental injections that keep you away, there is a new piece of kit called The Wand™ that more and more dentists are using.

It looks just like a pen and helps your dentist to deliver just the right amount of anaesthetic to your tooth…and it delivers it nice and slowly so that any discomfort is kept to a minimum.

Topical anaesthetic gels can also numb your gum beforehand making the experience even easier ( some dentists even offer a range of flavours).

·      Behavioural techniques

These range from just making appointments relaxing and unhurried, right through to relaxation techniques and hypnotherapy.

How to get started

Talk to friends and family about their experiences….they may know just the practice for you.

Do an internet search and use terms such as “gentle dentistry” or any of the techniques listed above. If your dental team have an interest in helping nervous patients, they will be shouting about it on their website!

And try NHS England…they have a list of approved NHS Dental Sedation practices.

One thing is for sure… it will be one of the best things you can do for your health and your happiness if you can become calm and confident with a friendly caring dental team.

My mum managed it… she changed from quivering wreck to dental fanatic!

Click here to read more….

Other useful links

About Cleveland Orthodontics

Our specialist-led practice has been established since 1996 and provides brace treatment to people of all ages from across the North East, including Middlesbrough, Yarm, Stockton-on-Tees, Billingham and Redcar.

We offer NHS orthodontic treatment for children and a range of modern white and “invisible” braces for adults of all ages such as Invisalign. FREE consultations are available… you can either telephone for an appointment on 01642 243 020 or book through our website.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at