Facts about Dental Fear Central
- online since March 2004
- online as www.dentalfearcentral.org since 2005, incorporating a support forum
- target groups: anyone suffering with dental phobia or specific dental fears; dental professionals; dental students; researchers; psychologists
- listed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, NHS Choices, NHS Equip, BUPA, the British Society for Disability and Oral Health (BSDH), the Eastman Dental Institute, the British Dental Health Foundation, the British Dental Association (BDA), DMOZ, Yahoo! Directory, and other major hubs
- 269,000 unique visitors/month (March 2012)
Dental Fear Central was started in 2004 in response to a lack of in-depth information on the topic of dental phobia and anxiety from the perspective of people who actually suffer with these fears.
When I first started Dental Fear Central, I felt that the information available on the Internet and in the literature did not always reflect the real concerns of people with dental phobias and came from a perspective of what Foucault described as the “medical gaze”. This concept denotes the dehumanising medical separation of the patient’s body from the patient’s person. Much of the discourse on dental phobias implied that dental phobias are somehow “abnormal”, “irrational” or a medical problem of sorts.
Also, there appeared to be little in the way of practical tips published on the internet for either people with dental phobias themselves or for dentists practising “in the real world”. One of the aims of this website is to provide practical, hands-on tips for dentists from dentists.
I also felt the need to create a website which focuses more on the dentist-patient relationship and power relations. This website is based on an interpersonal model of dental phobia, rather than the assumption that responsibility for the fear resides in the individual.
Dental Fear Central is committed to a non-pathologising, solution-focused approach to overcoming dental phobias.
The dental phobia support forum has proven a big success and its effects on participants have been studied by Neil Coulson and Heather Buchanan of the University of Nottingham, whose published articles include Accessing dental anxiety online support groups: An exploratory qualitative study of motives and experiences (PDF file).
This website is essentially a collage of what people with dental phobias themselves, as well as their dentists, have said. Very little of the material on this site is of my own making – I just assembled it.
Very special thank yous go to Gordon Laurie, Mike Gow, Lincoln Hirst, Fraser Hendrie, and many other professionals – without your encouragement and friendship this site would not exist. And the same goes for all the people with dental phobias who have contributed to and written for this site who would rather remain anonymous, and of course all our forum moderators past and present! A special mention must go to Brit, a former London-commuter who gave up the day job when she had kids and discovered how addictive helping people over the internet can be (see her post count!).
Special thanks for contributing web pages and/or material to this website also go to (in alphabetical order) the team at Craigentinny Dental Practice (especially David for taking the time to answer questions on our forum!), Dave Carbonell, Jerry Gordon, John Urquhart, Keith Hayes, Lloyd Jerome, Tom Draper, and Zzzdentist.