Andrew Mutton isn't bothered by the whirring of the dentist's drill, unlike most 'dentaphobic' Kiwis.
But a study found many New Zealanders would rather endure other horrors than face a dental appointment.
One quarter of Kiwis surveyed said they would prefer to bump into an ex-partner, 21 per cent said they'd rather be caught with food stuck in their teeth and 17 per cent said they would rather be caught with their fly undone.
So desperate are people to avoid seeing the tooth doctor, that more than one in eight said they would rather walk out of a bathroom with toilet paper stuck to their shoe.
Mr Mutton, 38, was at Halswell Dental Centre for a check up yesterday.
"Normally it's all right. I try and look after my teeth. And, hopefully, I'll keep them for a long time."
He said going to the dentist really isn't as bad as some people think.
Dentist Zinta McGuinniety said his patients are always nervous when they come to see him at the centre.
"Everyone's got some degree of nerves. Some of them are pretty relaxed about it but some are pretty anxious."
He said their 'dentaphobia' comes from early encounters with the dentist.
"A lot of it they tell me is from when they were kids, from the 'murder house' they used to call it."
In Auckland, dentist Phil Brake has heard similar stories. "I believe a fear of dentists originates from dread passed on by parents to their children. Dentists and dentistry has changed enormously in the past 20 years, techniques, materials and attitudes have all greatly improved," he said.
When it comes to the source of their anxiety, nearly two thirds of respondents, 65 per cent, said it was cost, while a further 34 per cent said it would be needles, drills or pain.
Dr McGuinniety sees this in his patients. "Cost is part of it. Then there's the needle, that's probably the most [common], they don't like that bit. Then some are anxious about the drilling."
While Mr Mutton tries to get to the dentist once a year, other Kiwis are not so diligent.
More than one quarter (27 per cent) of respondents said their last dental visit was in the past six months, 20 per cent said it was 6-12 months ago, a further 20 per cent went 1-2 years ago, and more than a third last went more than three years ago or never.
The study also revealed many Kiwis are not being completely truthful with their dentists. The most common 'white lie' told to dentists is they brush their teeth for two minutes, twice a day with 17 per cent of those surveyed admitting to this.