There are several ways to deal with dental anxiety and phobias. The first is to recognise what your greatest fear is. Is it a previous experience? Is it pain? Is it the sound? The cost?
Then you need to find a dentist that you can put your trust in. A dentist who takes their time to use topical anaesthesia, or can explain the situation and put your mind at ease. Try using headphones and listen to music if the sound worries you. Relaxation techniques, good technique, and a friendly fun dental practice and staff can all make a huge difference. Talk to your dentist about what the biggest hurdles for you are, and they can often make things way more comfortable for you.
I have had some great success for more anxious patients using Penthrox (http://www.halas.com.au/HTML/01_New%20Products/01_penthrox.html) which is an inhaled sedative that is fast in onset and easy to use. If things are still too concerning then IV sedation or day surgery is an option. The important thing is to take control of your life. Dental problems and pain are usually the result of not attenting to things early – the sooner you have a dental check-up, find a dentist you can trust, and discuss your options, the sooner you can get on with your life and enjoy youir smile again!
The power is in your hands – go for it!