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Help for Anxious Patients

We’re delighted to be working alongside leading charity, Anxiety UK, to raise awareness of dental phobia and improve the support available for people suffering with dental anxiety.

New patients often say to us that they have put off going for so long as they are afraid it might be painful or because they have had a bad experience many years ago. It’s a pleasure seeing the transformation of these same patients as they work with our dentists to successfully overcome their dental fears and get back into routine dentistry.

We’re passionate about making a difference and we’re campaigning for #NoMoreDentalFear!

Dental anxiety is common

Mild fear and anxiety before a visit to a dentist or doctor is common. It becomes a concern, however, when the fear or anxiety stops people getting the treatment they need and leaves them struggling with toothache, discomfort or dissatisfaction with the way their teeth look. This most extreme type of dental anxiety is classed as a dental phobia (also known as ‘odontophobia’).

According to statistics from the Oral Health Foundation, almost half of UK adults have a fear of the dentist, with 12% of these suffering from an extreme dental anxiety or phobia. In addition, visiting the dentist is ranked number one for making people nervous – even more popular than a fear of heights. However, as many people do not feel comfortable talking about their phobias, it is thought that these figures could be a lot higher.

The importance of oral health

Dental health is an important part of your overall wellbeing and it’s important to remember that poor oral health is not simply about toothache and decay. It has a much wider impact on general health than you may think: Research over the past decade has revealed growing evidence linking poor oral health to serious health conditions including heart disease, diabetes, problems during pregnancy and dementia.

Clear links between oral health and overall health mean it’s more important than ever to visit the dentist regularly and hone your oral health routine.

Breaking down the barriers

Our five senses are heightened in an environment we consider fearful. In a dental environment traditionally we can smell the products, hear the sounds of the instruments, see a pristine clinical environment and maybe have experienced the ‘not so gentle’ touch of the dentist. At CFD, as our practices are in Sainsbury’s supermarkets, we are distracted by the sound of shoppers, children’s laughter and tills ringing. From the practice you can smell freshly cooked bread and the environment is familiar and more welcoming. Most importantly, our dentists and the supporting team in each of our practices are experts in dealing with patients who suffer from fear and anxiety.

By taking small steps to become familiar with their dental practice, our patients feel increasingly comfortable and confident to undergo vital treatment. We invite our patients to come in and have a look around, speak to the team, have a conversation with the dentist and even sit in the dentist’s chair to familiarise them with the environment, without the need to have treatment done there and then. This process may take several weeks and we will support you throughout. We serve a reassuringly good cup of tea, too!

Your Next Steps

1. Download our brochure for more information and tips on dealing with dental anxiety and dental phobia >> Read our Dental Anxiety Guide to #NoMoreDentalFear

2. Contact your local practice to see how their friendly team can help you to feel at ease. You can also call Centre for Dentistry’s dedicated helpline to talk to someone about your dental fears or worries. We’re available on 0333 1234 225 from 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday.

3. Email us at

4. Visit your local practice for a cuppa and a chat with our friendly team – you’ll find us inside Sainsbury’s.