Join the Dental Anxiety Network!

Dental Fear Central now has a sister website for health professionals, the Dental Anxiety Network. If you are a dental professional, a dental student, or a mental health professional with an interest in helping people with dental phobia or dental fears, you can now join the Dental Anxiety Network to receive free newsletters and keep up-to-date with what’s happening in the world of dental anxiety management.

The website lists courses related to dental anxiety management in the UK and Ireland, useful resources, as well as articles on topics such as iatrosedation, communicating with patients, and tips for helping nervous patients. Over the next year, we will be adding many more articles, as well as a section of top tips submitted by both dentists and patients.

You can read more at!

ISDAM membership is now open!

Abraham H. Maslow is widely credited with the saying “When the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail”. The International Society of Dental Anxiety Management (ISDAM) aims to help dentists by adding new ‘tools’ to their ‘dental anxiety management toolbox’, so you have more to choose from than just the hammer!

If you are a dental professional who is interested in helping people overcome their dental fears, you can now join ISDAM and gain access to a members-only discussion and support group, as well as online and live training courses.

ISDAM membership is open to healthcare professionals who have a registered qualification and a regulatory body, for example dentists, dental hygienists, dental therapists, dental nurses and psychologists. Dental students can also join for a reduced fee.

To find out more, go to and join today! New members signing up for 2013 membership now will also receive the remainder of 2012 for free!

Dental Fear Central Apps!

Good news for all of you who use mobile devices to access our forum (and there’s a lot of you – at the last count, a third of all visitors to the site were using Macintosh operating system, and this includes a large contingent of iPhone users!).

We now have both an iPhone and an Android app available for the forum – both are free! You can find them here:

Dental Fear Central Android App

Dental Fear Central iPhone App

Of course, the iPhone App can also be used with an iPod Touch!

If you prefer not to use an app, or if you are a Blackberry user, we also have a special mobile style available which you can get by scrolling down to the bottom of the forum homepage, and selecting “Default Mobile Style” from the drop-down menu in the left bottom corner.

Happy tapping 🙂 !!

Peninsula dental college tackles dental fear with people with learning difficulties

Students from the Peninsula Dental School have been working with adults with learning disabilities from Plymouth People First, to take away fear of the dentist and help them to manage their oral hygiene.

The School has developed a relationship with Plymouth People first over the past year.

The students have performed interactive plays to show what a typical visit to the dentist might entail, and given lots of opportunities for testing out some of the dental equipment at the School’s Devonport Dental Education Facility in a fun and relaxed environment.

The students have also created a DVD starring the adults with learning disabilities that will be used to increase dental health awareness and reduce anxiety for others in the community.

Samantha Bandara, one of the students who took part in this special study unit, said: “One of the biggest barriers to dental care is a fear of the dentists, and this is what we were hoping to tackle. We all found the experience rewarding. We connected with our community and saw how we practice can really influence a person’s health and life. It’s great to know that we’ve had such an impact within the local community.”

Jill Singh, Self-Advocacy Project Officer at Plymouth People First, added: “This has been an amazing project and one we hope to repeat next year. As a result of our close working with students from the Peninsula Dental School, the Learning Disability Health Team is now making dentistry a focus area for 2012. This has been a two-way learning experience for all involved. The users learnt how important it was to look after their mouths and teeth; the students learnt the importance of providing accessible information so messages are understood and remembered.”

Optimism and humour used to combat dental fear

Interesting article in the News section of the current issue of the British Dental Journal (published online: 9 March 2010):

Scientists in Sweden have discovered that some of the most important factors in managing stress during a visit to the dentist include optimism on the part of the patient and an atmosphere of humour in the interaction with dental staff.

In two unique studies, scientists from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg investigated the strategies people with dental fear use to cope with visiting the dentist and receiving dental treatment.1

In one study, Jenny Bernson and colleagues asked people suffering from dental fear to complete a questionnaire and the results revealed five principal strategies used to overcome dental fear: self-efficacy, self-distraction, distancing, prayer and optimism.

The second study was based on interviews with patients suffering from dental fear, and the interviewed patients mentioned humour as one of the most important factors.

Psychological barriers can be broken down by humour, both as a result of the patient and the dentist coming together more as equals, and as a result of humour reducing stress, increasing well-being and creating a pleasant atmosphere,’ said Dr Bernson.

The strategies identified by the two studies will form the basis of a questionnaire that may be possible to use in the future when treating patients suffering from dental fear.

The original research can be found here: Bernson J M, Elfström M L, Hakeberg M. Adaptive coping strategies among adults with dental fear. Further development of a new version of the Dental Coping Strategy Questionnaire. Acta Odontol Scand 2011; Nov 30

New Forum

As of today, our forum has undergone a revamp to go with the rest of the website – there are still some little things to sort out (like the smilies), but we’re getting there :grin:! It is much prettier than the last version, so do check it out. The new forum also features a drop-down navigation menu (like the rest of the website) and Google site search (once you’re logged in).

And if anyone needs a good vBulletin designer, try!

DFC on Facebook!

Dental Fear Central now has a Facebook fan page:!

Obviously, the last thing many people with dental phobias want is for other people to find out about what may be their deepest, darkest secret.

But if you are here because of specific fears, or you don’t mind others knowing about your fears, or if you are a practitioner interested in helping people overcome dental phobias, please consider visiting our Facebook page and clicking the Like button!

We need 25 people to click the Like button in order to get a short URL for the Facebook page!

Update: We’ve now got 25 likes but keep those clicks coming!! The new URL is

Welcome to our new website!

Welcome to our new website!! Yes, we have finally moved onto a Content Management System, which will allow for more flexible adding of new content and more interactive features.

We have added a lot of new information and hopefully have made the website easier to navigate. Check out the brand-new drop-down navigation menu!

If you are currently using Internet Explorer, consider switching to the Firefox browser or Google Chrome – this will give you beautiful rounded edges and drop shadows: Get Firefox or Google Chrome (both are free).

We’re looking forward to your feedback on how to improve the site, what you like and what you dislike. You can post your suggestions and report any broken links or features which don’t work properly on our forum, or e-mail us.

We are planning to upgrade and integrate the forum soon.

We hope you like our new-look website and look forward to your thoughts!