Nervous Dental Patients

By Celia Burns on 2nd June 2018

“I haven’t worried about our dental treatment in years. I just knew we were in safe hands.”

Dental Phobia Certified

Dr Celia Burns is a Dental Phobia Certified Dentist. Click Here to verify.

Celia has built her reputation as an outstanding dentist on her ability to put nervous patients at their ease. She understands that visits to the dentist can be nerve wracking and has many ways of helping you gradually build your confidence. You are welcome to book a time to come in, free of charge, and meet us informally before you have a check up if you wish. The whole dental care team is sympathetic to your anxiety, and we will listen carefully to your concerns and take everything entirely at your pace so that you can eventually look forward (yes, really!) to your visits.

Some of the more frequent reasons for anxiety are listed below, with ways we can help you conquer them.


Will it hurt?

Patients are often frightened that on their visit to the dentist they will have to sit through uncomfortable or downright painful treatment, especially if they have suffered from bad experiences at the dentist in the past. We promise this will not happen when you visit us. We use excellent anaesthetics and gentle techniques and we consider our care of you to be failing unless you are completely comfortable at all times.  The most frequent comment people make at the end of their treatment appointment is “if I had known it was that
painless I wouldn’t have worried about coming”.

I hate not being in control

At nothing but the tooth, you are in control. We will never start treatment, even a check up, without your being ready. We will agree a signal you can give us, such as a  raised hand, if you need us to stop what we are doing at any time. If you decide part way through an appointment that you have had enough for today, we will stop treatment. You can have absolute faith that you are in complete control of what is happening at all times.

I am scared of needles

Lots of people have the same phobia, so you are not alone.We always try to use materials and techniques that do not need an injection if you are frightened of needles. If we feel that it is advisable that your teeth are numb before treatment, we will explain this to you. We can use a special gel to numb your gum first if you would like, and then our local anaesthetic injections are given so gently that many people do not even feel them. We ask our patients to score the injections on a 0 – 10 scale, where 0 is no pain at all and 10 is agony. Very nearly all our patients give a score of 0 or 1. Our highest ever score (once!) was 3.

I am frightened of the dentist’s drill

Again, this is a common worry.

If your anxiety is based on a worry that the drilling will hurt, we would refer you back to our pain free promise. You will not have to sit through any painful treatment here. Ever.

If you don’t like the noise, you are welcome to bring your iPod or MP3 player, or a CD to play.

If you dislike the sensation of drilling, we can do shorter treatments, or give you frequent “breathers”. There are even some ways of filling teeth that do away with conventional drilling, for example the Icon™ method, where a liquid filling is soaked into the tooth surface, and this does not even need an injection.

I am embarrassed about how bad my teeth are

The team at nothing but the tooth are all experienced dental professionals, and I can promise you that we see patients with high treatment requirements all the time. It takes a lot of courage to come for treatment if you are nervous, especially when you know you need a lot of work. We applaud that, and we thank you for choosing us to help you on your way towards a healthy mouth and that amazing smile you are going to be sporting soon.

Remember, our reputation depends on living up to our promises. Celia has had new patients standing at the door of her surgery crying because they are so terrified, unable to step inside. And yet they are now regular, confident attenders. We would love to do the same for you.

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About the Author

Celia Burns - Principal Dentist & Clinical Director

My first love isn’t teeth; it’s people. That’s why I love being a dentist. It’s the best feeling in the world to be able to help an anxious patient, who has possibly avoided going to the dentist for many years, build their trust in me, and I get a real thrill from helping someone achieve the confidence in their smile that they want.

Six Month Smiles BACD - British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry British Dental Association The Oral Health Foundation GDC