You Shouldn't Be Scared of the Dentist | Smile Stories

Why You Shouldn’t Be Scared Of the Dentist If You Have Rotten Teeth

You’re not on your own.

In our profession, we see patients with rotten teeth who are scared of the dentist on a daily basis.

And leaving rotten teeth in your mouth can have an impact on both your physical and mental health. As well as potential pain and abscesses associated with rotten teeth, the appearance can negatively affect social situations. Would you employ someone with black teeth? Do you hide your teeth on photographs?

It’s a difficult situation, where the anxiety of a dental trip can often outweigh the problems associated with your rotten teeth. In this article, I’ll try to reassure you that it’s never as bad as what you think it will be.

So let’s see why you shouldn’t be scared of the dentist if you have rotten teeth.

scared of dentist rotten teeth

You feel embarrassed about your teeth

Trust me, your dentist has seen it all before, no matter how rotten you think your teeth are. And anyway, your dentist isn’t there to judge you, they’re there to help.

Rotten teeth look black and form holes, but this can be fixed with a little dental treatment.

Your dentist will do all they can to ensure you start smiling again with a healthy and happy mouth.

You’re worried about drilling your tooth

By the time your dentist drills your tooth the chances are you’ve had a local anaesthetic. This will mean that the tooth is numb and you won’t feel pain.

What you will feel is the rumbling of the drill and the sensation of the water, which will feel strange but that’s as far as it goes. That’s completely normal and nothing to worry about.

The other concern that arises is the strange whirring noise the drill makes.

If you don’t like it then feel free to take headphones with you to the dentist, crank up your music and take yourself to whichever place makes you happy.

You don’t like injections

I don’t think we’ve ever had anyone come to the dentist ecstatic about this but it just goes with the territory.

You’ll be glad to know there are things we can do to make the experience more bearable.

Ask your dentist for topical anaesthetic before the injection. This is a numbing gel which the dentist will rub on your gum before the injection. It takes the edge off nicely.

There’s also an injection system out there called ‘The Wand‘. This controls the flow of local anaesthetic and can be more comfortable than the traditional injection method. Check if your dentist uses this.

But if the dentist recommends an injection I’d always take their advice. They only last around 5 seconds and it will mean the dentist can do their job properly. You don’t want to be repeating the treatment again because the dentist was worried they’d hurt you the first time around.

And if you have a genuine dental phobia

Dental treatment has come a long way if you’re scared of the dentist and have rotten teeth.

Normally, the dentist will first try to treat you under local anaesthetic, but I understand this isn’t always possible. If you can’t stomach this then there are other options available to you.

Let’s look at the other anaesthesia options if you’re scared of the dentist and have rotten teeth:

Gas and air mixture is great for children. It’s fast acting but also wears off quickly, with no lingering effects. It’s useful for either scared children or those with a bad gag reflex.

IV (intravenous)  sedation is the gas alternative commonly used for adults. It’s a sedative, so will make you sleepy but not fully asleep, unlike general anaesthetic. It will allow you to relax and get on with your treatment. Most of the time you won’t even remember what you had done when the effect wears off. However, it will make you groggy for the rest of the day and you’ll need help getting home. IV sedation means you will still need a cannula inserted in your hand, so if it’s needles you dislike then this may not be the best option.

A general anaesthetic is usually reserved for children and those adult patients who are extremely dental phobic. You will be completely unconscious during the treatment but any operation carries risks, so use as a last resort.

And if you’re scared of the dentist and have rotten teeth the best long term solution is…

…to look after your teeth the best you can!

The answer is not to put it off as things will only get worse.

Your dentist will be able to give you guidance on the best way to brush your teeth. Brush twice daily, use interdental brushes and watch the sugar in your diet.

Eat right. Clean right.

If you follow your dentist’s instructions and attend regularly the fewer problems you will have.

And fewer problems means fewer visits, less drilling, fewer injections and a happy patient and dentist.


Dr Gareth Edwards BDS (Hons) MFDS RCPS (Glasg) qualified from university with honours. Working in the Bournemouth& Poole area, he’s passionate about orthodontics, minimally invasive dentistry and is a certified Invisalign provider.

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