Fear of dentists is basically a simple phobia. Phobias are created when something dramatic happens and causes you to experience a deep and sudden fear.

Your unconscious mind creates a powerful association between the event and that fear. And forever thereafter, your unconscious mind does everything possible to keep you away from that situation, or anything that is like that situation. If it means that your unconscious gives you a terrifying fear of dentists, then that keeps you away from them, and your unconscious mind has done what it should do - it has kept you safe.

I have successfully dealt with many people who have a fear of dentists. It is usually not a needle phobia; it is a generalised fear of just being near a dentist. When I have questioned clients about the origin of this fear, in almost every case it can be traced back to a specific time in childhood. For some reason, the client has been taken to the dentist and got spooked. The child did not want some stranger poking around in their mouth, sticking needles in, causing them pain, etc. The child just wanted to get out of there and go home with their mother.

What may have happened is that the child was forcibly restrained, held down and operated on. The result is a child who is frightened of a strange situation and strange people, linked to pain and the knowledge that they cannot get away. It is the "cannot get away" part which is most important. The phobia is a combination of feeling trapped and knowing that you are going to get hurt. Your mind knows that this is going to happen, and so does everything possible to stop you getting into that situation again.

It is no different from a fear of public speaking. Fear of public speaking can usually be traced back to an incident at school. The child was suddenly asked to say something, said what they thought was right, and was then humiliated by the teacher. The humiliation was totally unexpected, and undeserved, and the rest of the class laughed at them. It is the same combination of pain, the unexpected, and being unable to get out of the situation.

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