Dear Scaredy Cat

Dear Dr. H,
I have a lot of dental problems, but I am just too afraid of the shot to come in and have anything done. I had a bad experience as a kid and I am just terrified.
Can you offer any advice?
Scaredy Cat
Dear Scaredy Cat,
The truth is that even people who are covered in tatoos and piercings don’t like the shot. You are not alone in this fear.
Remember how big your dad’s hands were when you were a child? Now his hands just look normal to you. The same is true with all the dental tools- they looked huge when you were a child! Today all those tools will look normal (perhaps even small) to you.
Don’t let that childhood perception of size hold you back.
The other thing people tell me is that , as a child, their old dentist didn’t listen to them.
Dentistry ( and medicine) has changed in the last 15 years to a much more proactive and patient centered practice. You can expect that your dentist will listen to you and stop if you need something.
Let your dentist know that you are afraid and he/she will walk you through all the things we do to make getting numb more comfortable.
Finally, know that new technology has improved the shot technique and most people find that getting numb is not such a big deal now.
If you just can’t get past this childhood fear – and I respect that a lot of kids have been traumatized by old techniques- there are options for the use of laughing gas or even sedation to help you get your teeth done.
Dental problems only get worse if you ignore them. Find a compassionate dentist and ask for solutions.
Dr. H

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