young mother with her baby in the park

Common Dental Fears and How to Overcome Them

Published date field Last Updated:

Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

For some people, the idea of dental work is scarier than a horror movie. Whether you experience anxiety or have a severe dental phobia, these feelings can get in the way of taking the best care of your teeth. One study showed that 24% of people wanting a dental implant refused treatment due to their dental fear. If you're afraid of getting certain dental work done, the good news is that it's usually not as bad as you think. With modern sedation and pain management advancements, common dental procedures like root canals can be virtually painless.

1. Wisdom Teeth

When it comes to wisdom tooth extraction, many people cringe in fear at the thought, but the scary scenario they envision is probably outdated! These days, you don't have to worry about pain as most dentists offer a variety of sedation options, even general anesthesia, to make you comfortable during the procedure.

The recovery isn't that bad, either. Just some gauze, an ice pack and some pain meds should be all you need. Well, that and something good to binge-watch. You'll likely be feeling much better by the third day after surgery, and any bleeding should be gone within a week.

It is true that getting wisdom teeth removed hurts for a bit, but it's nothing you can't handle! If your wisdom teeth have been bothering you or are causing problems in your mouth, this common outpatient procedure could help improve your day-to-day life. Worth it!

2. Root Canal

Everyone has heard of a root canal, referenced in movies, TV and all over pop culture as excruciatingly painful. So many people fear the procedure, some even avoiding the dentist when they think they might need a root canal. But in reality, root canals are meant to relieve pain — a deep aching cavity or abscess won't go away on its own. All those ideas about the procedure being painful are old news. With today's numbing and sedation options, the procedure is no more painful than getting a filling.

Root canals do take a couple hours to complete as the dentist works carefully step by step to clean out any infection, but that's the part that will prevent you from being in pain in the future. Consider bringing wireless earbuds to listen to music or an audiobook to pass the time and distract you from focusing on the procedure.

3. Dental Implants

Even with the knowledge that dental work isn't as terrible as it's made out to be, it can be hard to overcome anxiety. If you're feeling anxious, talk to your dentist. They can work with you to come up with a plan of action that makes you feel safe and comfortable. After each appointment, you may find that your anxiety is lifting and you can smile a little easier.

Oral Care Center articles are reviewed by an oral health medical professional. This information is for educational purposes only. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist, physician or other qualified healthcare provider. 

paper airplane

Want more tips and offers sent directly to your inbox?

Sign up now

Mobile Top Image
Was this article helpful?

Thank you for submitting your feedback!

If you’d like a response, Contact Us.

Mobile Bottom Image