16 Reasons People Hate the Dentist

5 minute read

By Christopher Brown

It’s painful, it’s uncomfortable, it can take a really long time… the only people who have fun at a dentist’s office are dentists and their support staff. But you can learn to overcome your fears by searching online.

Don’t get me wrong… dentists perform an invaluable service. But there’s a reason dentists offices remain a source of fear for millions. So, in case you needed a reminder, Healthversed.com presents 16 reasons people hate the dentist!

Spine Tingling Fear

You know that shiver you get when you watch a terrifying horror movie? Or the way that hair stands up on the back of your neck when you know you’re not alone? That’s the feeling a lot of people get when they turn the page on their day planner and see “Dentist Appt” written in red ink.

Dental Anxiety is a real thing, affecting close to 15% of those lucky enough to have access to a dental professional. Much of that terror can be traced back to our earliest experiences at the dentist’s.


Children are inclined to mimic the body language and adopt the characteristics of their parent or guardian. A Mom that’s terrified of a dental visit herself can unintentionally, and quickly, nurture their child’s phobia.  As if having kids isn’t hard enough, now you have to pretend to enjoy the dentist!

Unreasonable Office Hours

Alright, tough guy. Maybe the sound of a dental drill doesn’t make you quiver in your tiny paper bib. That doesn’t change the fact that trying to book an appointment for one of these glorified torture sessions is a pain in the butt.

Maybe they’re off vacationing on their Utopian, tooth-shaped island. Or maybe they like to kick out at 4 PM so they can sneak in a round of 18. Either way, a trip to the dentist usually means chewing up one of your precious vacation days — and that just ain’t right.

The Waiting Room

The peeling wallpaper… the uncomfortable chairs… the magazines that have been there since before you had baby teeth. And don’t get me started on the smell.

The thing is, if you already dislike the dentist, you’ll probably detest the waiting room. Because it’s the last thing you see before you’re launched in to a world of pain, discomfort and impossible conversations.

(Attempting to) Chat

Urrf. Bluurrd. Splaaan. That’s about the extent of every conversation I’ve ever had with my family dentist. The crazy thing is, she actually understands what I’m saying. They must have some sort of secret “mouth full of tools” translation class in dental school.


This one hits really close to home. Big or small… I am absolutely terrified of needles. I’m not alone either. Trypanophobia, or the fear of needles, affects as many as 20% of the general population. That fear definitely extends to NEEDLES IN THE FREAKIN’ MOUTH!

Dentists usually fill their tiny blades of pain with the local anaesthetic Lidocaine. Lidocaine numbs tissue in a specific area and usually lasts for around an hour and a half. Now, if only Lidocaine could numb my crippling fear of dental injections.


Ahhh, the drill. Its signature sound has to be one of the most widely recognizable (and unpleasant) sounds in the world. It really is the stuff of nightmares for most denta-phobes. And who could blame them?

The dental drill was invented in 1864 by British dentist George Fellows and it’s been a staple in the Dental Hygienist’s tool belt ever since. Your dentist only busts this baby out to blast away decay and prep for a filling. So, naturally, most people associate it with pain, discomfort and candy binges.


It wouldn’t be a trip to the dentist without a bib full of blood. A lot of people get really, really freaked out by the sight of their own blood, naturally. I mean, it’s supposed to stay inside of you! But, if you don’t regularly practice good dental hygiene, you might see a lot more than you’re comfortable with.

The Lead Apron

Every couple of years, your dentist might request a new set of dental x-rays to track the development of your teeth and help diagnose a number of treatable conditions.

You bite down on some plastic, put on the dreaded lead apron and watch them scurry away to safety. Watching your dental assistant run away with such urgency is, to say the least, a little unnerving.


All of the control freaks reading this one just let out a loud sigh and a violent nod. You sit down on that chair, the dentist hits the button and you’re gently reclined into submission. Sure, your dentist is a trained medical professional, but surrendering control to a relative stranger is always a little unsettling.

It’s like boarding a plane, or riding in the passenger seat on the highway. You really hope something doesn’t go wrong, and the odds are in your favor, but if something did go wrong, there’s really nothing that you can do about it.

No Pain, No Gain

At best, going to the dentist is mildly uncomfortable. At worst, well… we’ve all been there. It can be excruciating. Case in point: the needles, the “laughing gas” and the bib-o-blood.

It’s safe to say that one of the reasons we often sidestep our bi-annual trip to the tooth doctor is to avoid the pain of it all. Unfortunately, a lot of the time, it’s the pain of a toothache that drives us to book an appointment.

The Guilt Trip

Your appointment is in two days? Time to start brushing like a madwoman. Brushing, flossing, and scraping violently on the morning before your appointment can feel a lot like cramming for a final exam.

Spoiler alert: it doesn’t work. Your dentist is still going to sit you down and give you the patronizing talk about flossing, brushing and mouth-washing multiple times a day. Smile and nod, my friend; smile and nod.

The Price Tag

The sting of that pointy dentist tool pales in comparison to the sting of the debit machine. I mean, I don’t remember ordering a platinum studded grill!

I’d imagine that this is also a common dental deterrent. If you don’t have employer benefits, you’re really out of luck. Paying out of pocket for a cleaning can set you back hundreds of dollars. And getting real work done, like fillings or implants, can cost thousands. If avoiding the guilt trip wasn’t incentive enough…


This one goes hand in hand with our previous discussion about vulnerability. Biologically, your mouth is your life source. Air, food, water, cries for help… all of these things are impacted when you’re chewing on a rubber glove. Not being able to eat, breathe or cry for help can be just a little uncomfortable.

Just hold on to that chair. It’ll be over soon.


It’s no secret: Dentists make a TON of money. According to salary.com, the median salary for a dentist is in and around $191,177 per year! That’s sports car money. That’s vacation house on the lake money. That’s fancy cheese and wine party money.

Knowing that dentists get paid very, very well to make people feel very, very uncomfortable doesn’t exactly jive with most people. In truth, dentists make good money because they’re highly trained professionals who are wrist deep in saliva all day. Sure, you’re allowed to be jealous, but they’re allowed to enjoy their summer house too.

Floss Ain’t Boss

Hey… remember when your dentist told you that flossing twice a day will keep the cavities away? Not so much. As it turns out, more and more information is surfacing around the futility of dental floss. Word on the street is that it just flat out doesn’t do anything. It doesn’t promote gum health, nor is it considered an effective way to clean between teeth. Science recommends one of these weird looking things called an end tufted or single tufted toothbrush instead.

For those of you that don’t floss, you’re welcome. And for those of you that do? Well… I told you so.

Christopher Brown