About us

/About us
About us2018-11-05T10:36:07+00:00

Dental Fear Central is an independent non-profit organisation which since 2004 has developed and maintained this comprehensive online dental phobia and dental fear resource. The site is privately funded. Dental Fear Central does not receive sponsorship for any products which are mentioned on the website, nor does it sell advertising.

Who We Are

The volunteers who develop, maintain and moderate the website and forum include experts by their own experience of dental phobia, dentists, psychologists, researchers and other professionals who have an interest in supporting people with dental phobia, fear and anxiety.

Our Dental Advisory Board

Photo of dentist Gordon Laurie B.D.S.

Gordon Laurie BDS (Gla) MPH (Gla)

Gordon qualified from Glasgow University’s Dental School in 1982, and completed a Masters Degree in Public Health in 2005. He has a long history of working in the Ayrshire & Arran Community Dental Service, initially in paediatric service and later transferring into the then-new Special Dental Care Team. He also spent a number of years in private practice.

From 2008 to 2012, Gordon acted as SDS Adviser for NHS Education Scotland, being responsible for supporting trainers in the North/East regions, devising the postgraduate curriculum and monitoring postgraduate activity of dental practitioners in the North/East regions of Scotland.

He also developed the clinical aspects of “Caring for Smiles”, Scotland’s national oral health promotion, training and support programme, which aims to improve the oral health of older people, particularly those living in care homes.

Between 2010 and his retirement in 2017, Gordon was Assistant Clinical Director at NHS Highland (including 2 years as Acting Clinical Dental Director). As Clinical Lead for Special Care Dentistry for the Highland Health Board, he line managed a large number of dentists and dental therapists/hygienists across 15 clinics, as well as being responsible for General Anaesthesia and Sedation services in NHS Highland.

Gordon likes to remain at the forefront of the latest developments in dentistry and has been an avid follower of dental forums and discussion groups since the early days of the Internet. He is one of the co-founders of Dental Fear Central.

Photo of Dr Lincoln Hirst B.D.S.

Lincoln Hirst BDS (Lond) LDS RCS (Eng)

GDC No. 63093

Lincoln qualified from Kings College Medical School in 1988. He has been working at Garden City Dental in Welwyn Garden City since 1989, becoming a partner in 1994.

Lincoln has a special interest in treating apprehensive patients and has spent the last 30 years refining his abilities in this field. This has included post-graduate training in conscious sedation, hypnosis and psychology. He has developed a reputation for helping people that were so nervous about visiting the dentist that they had previously given up hope of ever being able to accept dental treatment.

Lincoln has also had extensive training in dental implants at the prestigious Tatum Institute.

Photo of dentist Dr. Mike Gow B.D.S.

Mike Gow BDS (Gla), MFDS RCPS (Gla), PGCert in the Management of Dental Anxiety (Edin), MSc in Hypnosis Applied to Dentistry (Lon)

GDC No. 76039

Mike leads and manages the dental anxiety unit of the Berkeley Clinic in Glasgow. He graduated from Glasgow University’s Dental School in 1999, and has a Postgraduate Certificate in the Management of Dental Anxiety from the University of Edinburgh. In 2005, he graduated with a Masters in Hypnosis Applied to Dentistry from the University of London. He has used conscious sedation since studying with the Society for the Advancement of Anaesthesiology in Dentistry (SAAD) in 2003.

Mike and his clinic have won numerous awards including Dentist of the Year (Scottish Dental Awards), Dentist of The Year (The Dental Awards), Best Treatment of Nervous Patients (Private Dentistry Awards), Best Treatment of Nervous Patients (Dentistry Scotland Awards), Private Practice of the year UK (Private Dentistry Awards), Best New Practice (Private Dentistry Awards), Best Young Dentist Scotland & UK (The Dentistry Awards).

He has written many papers on dental phobia management, hypnosis, and the use of technology in helping nervous patients. Mike has appeared on TV (including BBC’s Horizon) demonstrating the use of hypnosis in dental pain control. He is Past President of the British Society of Medical and Dental Hypnosis (Scotland) and Editor of Dentaltown UK dentistry e-magazine (www.dentaltownuk.com).

Mike regularly teaches other dentists, dental therapists and doctors on the topic of hypnosis and anxiety management, and presents at national and international conferences. He also presents hands-on workshops on the use of The Wand STA computer-assisted anaesthesia system.

Our Expert Advisory Board

Photo of Clinical Psychologist Dave Carbonell PhD

David Carbonell Ph.D.

License No. 071003556 (Illinois, U.S.)

Dave Carbonell, Ph.D. is a licensed Clinical Psychologist who specialises in treating fears and phobias. He is the author of three self-help books: Panic Attacks Workbook, The Worry Trick, and Fear of Flying Workbook. He is the “coach” of the popular self-help site, anxietycoach.com, and has taught workshops on the treatment of anxiety disorders to more than 10,000 therapists in the U.S. and abroad.

He received his doctorate in clinical psychology from DePaul University in Chicago in 1985 and has maintained a practice devoted to the treatment of anxiety disorders in Chicago since 1990. In his spare time, he is the founding member of The Therapy Players, an improvisational comedy troupe of professional psychotherapists in the Chicago area.

The Dental Fear Central Web Team

Our Web Team is made up largely by people who have experienced dental phobia themselves – Experts by Experience (EbE). Many of the articles on this website have been created by members of our web team, unless otherwise stated on individual web pages. Where appropriate, we ask our Advisory Board experts to check these pages for accuracy and completeness. Pages which have been reviewed by experts mention the names and credentials of the reviewer(s) near the end of the page.

Dental Fear Central can be contacted at: 

Dental Fear Central
P. O. Box 480
TN13 9JY
United Kingdom 

or by email using our contact form.

What We Do

Help and support

For 13 years we have run an online Dental Phobia Support Forum. The work by our “experts by experience” and the dentists who volunteer their time to answer questions on the forum continues to make a difference to public and professionals alike.

Our forum has had more than 190,000 posts to date, illustrating the acute need for this type of support system. People who suffer with dental anxiety and dental phobia are often too embarrassed to speak about their problem with friends and family, and the anonymity our forum provides can make a huge difference. People are able to voice their fears (often for the first time), get the input of others who are or who have been in a similar situation, and realise they are not alone. Many of our members have commented that reading the dentists’ replies on our forum hugely helped them with meeting or emailing potential dentists and making an appointment.

Our Dental Phobia Support Forum is run on a day-by-day basis by a team of dedicated volunteers from all over the world to whom we are greatly indebted to for their time, dedication, knowledge and experience. A big thank you to you all.


As the world’s largest dental phobia resource, we provide high quality, in-depth information on topics such as common dental fears, tips for overcoming dental fears, and information for dentists who are interested in helping nervous or apprehensive patients.


Dental Fear Central has made an important impact on the understanding of dental phobias and fears as can be demonstrated both through our Dental Phobia Support Forum and through academic research. We value quality research which helps the lives of people who experience dental anxiety, fear or phobia, and which is of use to dentists and other professionals.

Research conducted in conjunction with Dental Fear Central:

Accessing dental anxiety online support groups: An exploratory qualitative study of motives and experiences. Heather Buchanan, Neil Coulson (2007). Patient Education and Counseling, Volume 66, Issue 3, June 2007, Pages 263-269. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0738399107000055

Self‐reported efficacy of an online dental anxiety support group: a pilot study. Neil Coulson, Heather Buchanan (2007). Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, Volume 36, Issue 1, February 2008, Pages 43-46. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1600-0528.2007.00349.x

You can find a list of journal articles and other publications which mention or cite Dental Fear Central on our Research page. This page also details what to do if you are interested in doing research involving Dental Fear Central.