Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,325
Registered: ‎03-08-2014


[ Edited ]
I am your age and had similar childhood experiences with a dentist...tied in the chair and mine even hit me in the face.  What on earth was up with those dentists??????  What were they thinking doing that to children?????  Those dentists would be in jail now-a-days!  I totally understand those experiences leave a lasting impression that carry forward to today.
I have an odd body (in many ways - Ha!) but for some reason Novocain either does not work on me or it is so delayed that the work is done before it ever kicks in.  That is true for both my mouth and my body in general.  So, I have all my dental work done without Novocain...I don't even use nitrous oxide.  Fortunately, I have never needed a root canal and was totally knocked out for wisdom teeth removal.
I totally understand your fear, but I sincerely believe all will be well for you.  Hang in there!  Keep us posted - we care.
Snarky responders need not reply. Move along and share your views elsewhere.
Honored Contributor
Posts: 8,736
Registered: ‎02-19-2014


[ Edited ]

The way I deal with it is I just get myself to the office. Once I'm there, I remind them I'm a total wimp and can't handle any pain whatsoever. Then I leave it in their hands to do what they know how to do.


Don't focus on what it will be like once you get there. It will be out of your hands anyway. Just get yourself to the office and let them be in charge of the rest of it. Being at the dentist is an incredibly passive experience, so flow with that to make it easier.


You will be fine. And I am so sorry to all of you who were treated so horribly in the chair as kids. It was a different time, yes, but that does not make it any less traumatic or any less not okay.



Edited to add: Also remember that you are not supposed to feel any pain. If you do, signal to the assistant or hygenist by making a noise, raising and moving your hand, and or giving very strong eye contact. They are trained to stop everything and check in with you. Do not hold back if you are uncomfortable or need a break. Even if it's just that the back of your head is hurting. Let them know. You always have that power. They want and need to know.

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Respected Contributor
Posts: 3,393
Registered: ‎12-14-2018


My only fear is the emptying of my pocketbook!


Just FYI you should have never experienced that much pain. 

Honored Contributor
Posts: 20,295
Registered: ‎03-16-2010


I feel your pain!  I'm another of a certain age that comes from the era when dentists were usually painful.  I have been terrified of dentists for most of my life.


But about ten years ago I had to switch dentists and found the guy I go to now.  He and all his staff are wonderful!  (Well, as wonderful as dentists can be. 😉)  Their first concern is for my wellbeing and comfort.


I do what @Porcelain does, when I first get in the chair, I remind everyone how scared I am.  Since I've been going to them for so long now, they usually have the nitrous hooked up and ready to go before I finish settling in the chair! 😄  It helps to distract me, but it doesn't put me out completely.  I don't particularly like the numbing needles, but my dentist is very good with giving injections and I'll suffer through those few seconds of discomfort to get my mouth numb.


The dentist and assistant are always cognizant of my reactions as they work.  If I stiffen a little, they stop and ask if I'm okay.  He always tells me to let him know if I'm experiencing any pain.  He doesn't want to inflict pain any more than I want to experience it!


My only advice would be to tell them all up front about your fears.  If you give a little background on the 'why', I'm sure they will not only be supportive, but sympathetic.  Dentistry has come a long way since we were young.


Best of luck to you. 🦷👍💪

Honored Contributor
Posts: 13,913
Registered: ‎03-10-2010


[ Edited ]




Can't say I ever looked forward to a Dental visit. Spent a lot of hours over my years in dental chairs. Dentists and Oral Surgeons, including even being an outpatient at the hospital for a procedure.


Comparatively it ranks pretty low on my fear list.Have had many "root canals" and the only thing that bothered me? Having my mouth propped open for a couple hours left my jaw a little stiff, and that's the worst thing I can remember, barely!


You will do just fine my friend.





Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 5,296
Registered: ‎09-18-2010


@Shanus, yes I feel your pain. Also had a bad childhood experience at the dentist, 51 and I still get nervous just getting my teeth cleaned. I wonder how many of us there are?

When I have to have work done, I feel literally ill and its usually just a cavity here or there.

Good Luck, glad your hubby is going with you.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,843
Registered: ‎03-14-2010


Yes, I'm at that age where I can relate to those old horrible dentists of old.  I remember the first root canal I had.  I also was scared to death.  Driving up there I had to pull over and take a xanax.  I almost didn't go.  Then when I checked in at the desk I got more scared.  I sat in the corner for a few minutes while waiting and decided to leave.  I stood up to go and the dental assistant came out at that moment and got me.  So I go back with her and she calmed me down some.  The endo deadened me up and I didn't feel a thing during the procedure.  I was so surprised.  Afterward I went shopping for gardening supplies.

The next two root canals were also easy.  I now have no fear of the endo.  But I do fear another molar dying before the procedure.  That is the pain that people describe, not the procedure itself.  It's horrible pain and there's no pain pill that will make it go away.  I'll gladly climb into the chair to prevent that pain again.

Valued Contributor
Posts: 606
Registered: ‎03-17-2010


Gas for me!

I've had two root canals (with gas) and no pain during or after when I got home.

Within the last year I've had a lot of dental work - all with gas.

Now I get gas for a cleaning.

Love my dentist.  We've been going to him since 1976 when he opened his practice.

Dread the day he retires!!

Ask about gas!


Honored Contributor
Posts: 12,341
Registered: ‎03-19-2010


@Shanus here's a childhood story for you assuming the mods don't delete it.  I never know what they consider inappropriate these days.


My family dentist at the time had a painting in his waiting room.  I think it may have been painted by his wife.  Anyways it was of a little black boy sitting on a big wooden straight chair.  He was looking up with those big white eyes at a pair of hands holding a large novacaine syringe.  


Now why any dentist would have a picture of that in their waiting room I have no idea.  As a teenager when I found out one of my schoolmate's father offered gas I begged my parents to let me go to him.  Luckily, they did and I stayed with him until I moved away from home.  


As an adult I went to a dentist that specialized in children and he always had gas available.  After he retired I just didn't care for the dentist that bought his practice, so I started going to the one my husband was going to which just happens to be just down the street from my house, less than a mile away.  He's very nice, but he doesn't have any gas available.

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 5,706
Registered: ‎10-01-2010


@Shanus  I share your fear of dentists...get extreme anxiety just walking in.  When I was a child I jumped out of the chair and ran down the street with the bib on and  my mom running after me.  When I'm at the dentist I always feel like doing that again. 

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