For some people the mere thought of a dentist's drill - or the needles used to inject local anaesthetic into your mouth - can induce sheer terror.
Many people stay away from the dentist because they are so petrified of having work done such as fillings or extractions. But here at our NHS Dentist in Liverpool we have an abundance of experience in dealing with the most nervous of patients and young children. We take time to help you relax and feel comfortable with your treatment. If you would like to discuss any concerns you have, please contact our Liverpool Dentist today.
The result is that we put our oral health at risk by not having regular check-ups.
But now it turns out that you're not just being silly or irrational.
A new study has found that genetics can be responsible for the fear of dental treatment.
Researchers at West Virginia University have revealed that such anxieties are due in part to genes inherited from your parents.
The study found that the same genes that cause a fear of pain also lead to people being particularly scared of going to the dentist.
Cameron Randall, one of the two psychology researchers who carried out the study, said: "The most important conclusion of this study is that our genes may predispose us to be more susceptible to developing dental fear."
In the past, it's always been thought that fear of the dentist was down to a bad experience in childhood.
But the results show it could be already there in our DNA.
Randall added: "This information, along with a well-documented understanding of the important role of prior experiences and environment in causing dental fear, may help us develop new ways to treat dental fear and phobia."
The new study, reported by Science Daily, will be published in the journal Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology.
In the USA, it's estimated that 10 to 20 per cent of adults are frightened of dental appointments.
And in the UK, it's said that 25 per cent of people dread going to the dentist. The condition is known as odontophobia.
Karen Coates, a dental adviser at the British Dental Health Foundation, told the NHS website : "People who are scared of the dentist often call us for help because they're at the end of their tether.
"Their teeth don't look nice any more or they're in a lot of pain with toothache and they want to make the first step to seeing a dentist and getting their teeth sorted out.
"Some people have such bad dental phobia that they haven't seen a dentist for years. It's common for us to hear from someone in their 20s or 30s or even older who hasn't been to the dentist since childhood."
She assured people that dental surgeries were much more pleasant environments these days, that modern drills were much quieter and treatment can now be painless thanks to pen-like dental wands rather than needles as well as gels that numb the gums.