However in the case of one lady who has a microbiology degree and works as a civil servant, this fear has finally caught her out – after 20 years.
Victoria White who suffers from dental phobia was recently forced to attend the dentist for a check up after she was told she couldn’t have chemotherapy unless she does so.
This inevitably came as a shock for the woman who for the past 20 years has avoided visiting her dentist. However it also affected her social life as she refused all invitations to eat out, and even prevented herself from smiling. All because she was ashamed of her teeth.
Victoria became dental phobic in her teens. The thought of seeing one just caused her to panic. As such she refused to make appointments relying instead on simply cleaning her teeth and hoping everything would be alright.
Moreover, prior to developing the phobia Victoria said that each visit always seemed to involve some treatment.
“Whenever I had to go to the dentist I’d get a rising sense of panic,” she told reporters.
However Victoria was forced to confront her fears when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008. Treatment involved chemotherapy but her cancer specialist advised her that it was necessary to get a dental check up before the procedure was carried out.
But it was another 4 months before she plucked up the courage. Victoria said: “They wanted a letter from a dentist to say I was dentally fit. My mind was in turmoil and I couldn’t sleep. I contemplated doing without the chemotherapy and risking my life rather than visit a dentist.”
Dental phobia is far more common than many people suppose. It’s the third most popular phobia (around 10%) with arachnophobia topping the list.