Causes of Dentophobia & How to Treat It

Fear of the dentist can prevent people from seeking dental care, while making visits significantly uncomfortable. Dentophobia, or fear of the dentist, can be overcome so you can seek the dental care you need without the stress and anxiety. Learn how to treat dentophobia.

Having a Negative Experience

If you’ve had a negative experience at the dentist’s office, or sometimes if you’ve heard of someone else’s bad experience with a dentist, you may develop a phobia of seeking dental care. It’s a natural reaction when something is unpleasant to want to avoid it, but by avoiding the dentist when you need oral care, you can create long-term health problems.

Recognizing that a fear of dentists is holding you back and committing to overcome it is the first step toward getting over dentophobia.

Fear of Doctors

Fear of doctors, or iatrophobia, can lead some people to avoid dental care, since dentists are a type of doctor. A general fear of doctors can be treated in much the same way as dentophobia, although it may take longer to get over the fear, due to the generalized nature.

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement for taking small steps is an easy way to begin working with fear of dentists. If you can make an appointment for a cleaning, then reward yourself after the appointment with praise and a reward, it may reduce the fear, making the next appointment easier.

Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques prevent may prevent physical symptoms of anxiety and fear, such as a racing mind, increased heart rate, sweating, or dizzy sensation. Deep breathing or guided imagery meditation can help keep someone calm while they’re in the waiting room or speaking with a dentist. Calming music can also promote relaxation.

Related to relaxation is positive thinking, in which the patient envisions successful outcomes, such as walking out of the dentist’s office with clean teeth and no oral health problems. Creating positive memories can reduce the fear of future appointments.


Sedation dentistry helps those with dental anxiety get the treatment they need without feeling uncomfortably anxious the entire time. This technique works well when a patient needs something like a cavity filled: the dentist can sedate the patient so they are comfortable, then get to work filling the cavity.

A related technique is medication dentistry, in which patients are medicated with something that calms the anxiety, so they can communicate with the dentist without experiencing fear.

Our Tampa dentist offers sedation techniques, which can help you obtain needed dental care in a relaxed environment.

Support System

Patients with dentophobia often benefit from developing a support system of loved ones who provide compassionate care when they’re confronting their fear of the dentist.

Read the Free Guide

We’ve put together a free guide to help people overcome their fear of the dentist. The guide offers in-depth information to help you understand why people fear the dentist and find ways to resolve your fear. Download your copy today.