Dr. Baruch Tetri

I am afraid of dental treatment. What should I do?

Board-certified periodontist
February 14, 2023

Does the mere thought of going to the dentist make your legs go jelly, your heart beat faster, and your brain look for excuses of other “important” things to do?

We’ve prepared 10 practical tips to help you cope with that fear!

First of all, it’s okay to be afraid

The things that our brain associates with pain or discomfort evoke a natural protective response in the form of fear. 

Fear of dentists is usually related to the misconception that the treatment will be painful. It may also be related to negative experiences with doctors as a child. So, what can you do about it? How can you overcome your fears of dental treatment?

What are most people afraid of?


A fear of pain is one of the most common reasons for not going to the dentist. Some have had unpleasant experiences at the dentist in the past. Others have heard horror stories from friends that have little to do with the reality of things.

Ineffective anesthesia

Some people worry too much – thinking that the anesthesia won’t work and they will still feel pain during the treatment.

Side effects

Some people are afraid of dental treatment because they are worried about the possible side effects of anesthesia.

Lack of control

Sitting in the dentist’s chair with your mouth open makes it difficult to control what’s going on around you. Some people find this very unsettling. Especially those who are used to being in control.

Start small
Simply schedule an appointment with your dentist. Have a visual examination of your mouth. You may also ask to have your teeth cleaned. It is a completely painless procedure. Talk to the dentist, ask questions, and talk about your fears.

This way you will get used to the dentist, the smell of the office, and the equipment. This place will no longer cause anxiety, it will be easier to come here next time.
Choose a doctor you can trust
Browse the websites of dentists who work near you. Evaluate their work experience and view their portfolios.

Schedule a consultation. Be open with the dentist about any fears you may have. An experienced dentist will know how to reassure you that your treatment will be painless and without complications. If you feel more confident after talking with your dentist, trust them in treating your teeth.
Schedule your appointment on a relaxed day
Schedule an appointment at the dentist on a day when you don’t have other important things to do. This will help you avoid unnecessary stress and anxiety.

It is better to come to the clinic in the morning. That way, you won’t have to wait anxiously for half a day. You should prepare yourself in advance, preferably several days in advance. It will be easier to pull yourself together.
Take a sedative before your appointment
One hour before your appointment, ask your doctor if you can take a sedative, and if so, what kind. This will help you relax and relieve tension.
Focus on something else
The night before your appointment at the dentist, try to distract yourself from anxious thoughts about the upcoming treatment. Listen to your favorite music, watch a funny movie, or invite friends over.

It does not hurt to relax by listening to quiet music on the day of your visit.
Openly express your feelings to the doctor
Do not hesitate to tell the doctor about any discomfort/pain that you might experience during the treatment. You can discuss in advance the gesture or signal you will use to let the doctor know that you are experiencing discomfort or pain. This will make you feel more comfortable.
Ask – what type of anesthesia does the doctor use?
Does the clinic only use local anesthesia and sedation (putting the patient in a semi-conscious state)? The latter makes it possible to block the areas of the brain responsible for anxiety and restlessness.
Dr. Baruch Tetri

“I use modern local anesthesia for dental treatment, which completely eliminates any painful sensations during dental treatment. The only sensation the patient feels is the touch of the dentist’s fingers or the instruments used.

Dental treatment can be performed under sedation if the patient wishes.”

Prevention is of utmost importance
Take care of your oral health. Have your teeth cleaned every 3 to 4 months to remove plaque and tartar. Do not neglect regular dental checkups. Have your teeth professionally cleaned twice a year. Do not put off a visit to the dentist, especially if you’re experiencing discomfort with your teeth.
Accept support from friends
Do not hesitate to ask your friends for support. Ask them about their experiences at the dentist. What did they have to deal with? What helped them? Write down their positive experiences with treatment.

Some people ask a friend to go with them to the dentist to have a check-up.
Stay positive
Do not think that because you have been putting off going to the dentist for a long time, you have brought your teeth to a critical condition to the point of no return. Modern technology allows you to treat teeth without pain even in the most complicated cases.