Some people have had painful encounters with the dental “drill” because they weren’t properly numbed or at all. Unsurprisingly, if this has happened you are likely to feel terrified of the “drill”. Thinking of the sound alone will make you feel very anxious.
However, there should be no pain once the tooth is properly numb – only vibration and light pressure. Once you have learned to associate the sound of the handpiece with pain though, it can be quite hard to unlearn this association.
Few people like the sound of the handpiece, even if they haven’t had bad experiences in the past. Electric handpieces are quieter than traditional handpieces and thankfully are becoming more commonplace – they are quite a bit more expensive though. But also, the traditional air-driven models have become much quieter over the years (some brands are quieter than others).
People may also associate the handpiece with an attack on their bodily integrity. It may be useful to know that when a dentist cleans out an area of decay, this area is actually made of a mushy material, and not hard like the enamel on the tooth.