Dental Fear Edinburgh Blog Archive

The blog is regularly updated but we have published all of our archive postings for 2009 & 2010 here  in 1 place. To read the most up to date postings why not visit our blog Visit The Blog


2010 how will you remember it? Posted 22.12.10
As 2010  draws to a very cold and snowy close I have been reflecting on the last 12 months  and realised that there  many, many things to be thankful for. I am indebted to my supportive family and great kids who make every day a joy, without doubt they are  responsible for a lot  of the high points and were invariably supportive and understanding when I experienced the odd low point too. I am grateful  to the many patients who have taken the leap of faith and  entrusted their dental care to our dental practice in Edinburgh. It has been my privilege to watch most of my  new patients  transition from terrified newcomers  to become confident  and happy people who enjoy coming to see us.  Without doubt the team of committed and talented professionals that I work with should take the majority of the credit for this.

So how will you remember 2010 and can I  help you to  make 2011 the year where you finally beat your dental fear?

I set up this blog  to help encourage people who  currently are too scared of the dentist to reach out and take the first step towards  beating their dental fear. To some extent it has worked and we have many success stories already but I would love to do more.   So I have a Christmas favour to ask? 

Please let me know how we can be more helpful in 2011 ?

What could this blog do to  help you move forwards and beat your dental fear?

And finally if you have taken our 7 Day Beat Your Fear e-course please  let me know what worked and what didn't. Good or bad  I really would love to know.

So until next year I wish you a Peaceful and Happy Christmas

With all good wishes

Fraser & The Team @ Craigentinny


Does Your Inner Voice Say "I Am Afraid Of The Dentist?" Posted 06.10.2010
I was chatting with my wife after work yesterday and  we got talking about what can make someone feel anxious about a dental visit or treatment. We have both worked in Dentistry for more years than we care to count and interestingly we both identified one of the major causes of  anxiety being what people had "heard from a friend" or what they have read about a specific treatment.

I guess this is a common way to form opinions and judgements. We almost all subscribe to this approach in some aspect of our lives yet  it does not a particularly balanced, scientific or for that matter accurate way of doing things. For patients who suffer from dental fear or phobia in particular approach to forming opinions and judgements, while very natural,  can be less than helpful.

The way that we process  information  to make it useful to us  ( in theory ) is based on a mixture of  what we see, hear and  read which is then filtered by our underlying beliefs. Now those of you patient ( and kind )  enough to read my musings on all things  dental will know that I frequently describe our subconscious as having 2 voices. One is the voice of doom that tells us that everything will go wrong with our treatment  and "it" ( whatever "it"  is ) will be a dreadful experience.  The other voice is our rational one that reassures us that everything will be ok and that if  we choose the right people to help us with our dental fear and phobia everything will be fine.  This is true even if it is our own personal experiences in the past  that are forming our opinions and views today, the key here is finding someone who really is interested in helping you.

So here is my question for you if we want to beat dental fear  which of our two voices should we feed the most, the positive reassuring one or the negative one?


There are lost of places on the web where you can hear reassuring stories that affirm the positive reality; that modern dental care can be comfortable, informed, relaxed, and pain free. Dental Fear Central is just one great example. Whats more there a whole group  of people ( like the team at our Edinburgh Dental Practice  pictured to the right)  who are happy to have a chat by phone or e-mail  long before you ever have to actually visit to talk through your fears and concerns.

Talking to enthusiastic professionals and finding positive examples of detal care will not  solve dental fear entirely but if you want to change the way that you feel, they can help you to make a start, and in truth the hardest step is always the first.

So if you have a fear that is stopping you taking that first step why not take positive action and make contact with someone who can help to feed the positive voice that tells you that you can beat your dental fear. If we can help in any way just let us know.....

Have a great week!


Resources For Dental Phobia Posted 30.8.2010
Beating your dental fear or phobia does not need to be a lonely experience, there are lost of resources out there on the internet to help. Here are just a few that my patients have found to be very helpful. -a great resource complete with a forum where users can share their experiences and encourage each other

British Dental Health Foundation produces a leaflet on dental fear you can find it here

Find out  how  Panic Disorder works and what to do about it. If you have ever had that overwhelming feeling of panic as part of your dental fear  / phobia this is another great resource.

Try our 7 day beat your dental fear e - course- 7 small steps to help get you in the right frame of mind to make contact with a new dentist

If you know of a great resource on the web to help with dental fear or phobia why not let me know and I can share it with all of our readers.


Why Dental Sedation Might Not Be the Answer Posted 14.6.10

I speak to lots of nervous patients every week, and one question that often comes up is "canít you just knock me out for my treatment?" I guess what I am really being asked is what can you do for me that will reduce my level of consciousness such that I donít know anything about what is going on. In days gone by a general anaesthetic was the standard approach but in these more enlightened times most of patients would rather avoid this whenever possible. This leaves us with sedation.

Dental Sedation can be done with a small injection in the back of the hand ( called IV Sedation ) or using a gas called Nitrous Oxide ( often called RA sedation).  Clearly for anyone with a needle phobia the IV option already sounds challenging!  Either way the aim is that you remain conscious throughout treatment but at such a low level that you will not be hugely aware of what is going on and preferably remember very little or none of it when you recover.

At Craigentinny Dental Care we have in the past provided some sedation services and found that for patients who were really anxious dental sedation was not always the answer they hoped for. Firstly as you are largely unaware of what is going on you have no learning experience. i.e. after treatment you will be just as nervous as before. So as a result you are still likely to feel very anxious on the run up to each and every visit. So over time your fear of the dentist and dental treatment is less likely to diminish.

A second issue which is really the most significant one for me, is that should you be unfortunate to experience toothache, and it does happen to the vast majority of the population at some time in their life, you cannot always guarantee the availability of a sedation service.

Generally dentists who provide sedation have had additional training as have the dental nurses who support them, so you simply cannot arrive to see any dentist and be guaranteed sedation. Even if a practice does offer sedation, there may be issues if the right combination of staff are not on duty that day. This then leaves you with a terrible dilemma of living with the problem or facing your fears head on in a crisis situation. Neither option is a good one and likely to help you in your quest to feel more relaxed about dentistry.

For these reasons, I feel that the best approach for the majority of patients is to address their fears slowly and gradually with a caring and sympathetic dentist and nurse who have a genuine interest in helping them. This way we can treat your dental fear as well as treating your dental problems. In time most patients find that this approach leads to a reduction in their anxiety levels and they are more able to cope with routine care.

A typical example that I often hear from patients who come to our dental practice in Edinburgh is ďI used to take a whole day off work when I came to the dentist even if it was just for a very short visit but now I just come along before or after work .Ē

I know that  the non sedation route  is not the fastest but   in terms of treating dental fear in Edinburgh it has  proved to be very  effective for our patients in the long term.  Let me know your thoughts on this........


I'm Scared Of The Dentist Because..... Posted 12.04.10
As dentists we  love to tell patients with some degree of  pride that dentistry has moved on and improved over the last 20 years.  Truthfully this really has happened, but it occurred to me today that if you are afraid of the dentist  and  have one specific fear then unless you know what has improved then you will not feel a whole lot different about booking a  visit. What  I hope to do over this and future posts is give you some really practical examples of how things have moved on.

I hate the smell of the dentist - We now rarely use the materials that the used to give dental practices that really strong and characteristic  smell. Most modern alternatives are odour free. Even allowing for modern materials we still to some lengths to make sure that the practice generally does not have the old fashioned smell of the dentist. Fresh flowers,  essential oils and air purifiers all feature in the range of things that we have at our disposal to help keep the place smelling lovely. You will also be pleased to know that you won't be subjected to some of the more lively aftershaves from the 70s either!

I am Scared of injections- this is another area of great progress. We have 3 main strategies;

1. We now use  surface anaesthetic gels to pre numb your gum, these are fantastic and really do help a lot

2. we use a very very slow and careful technique that makes most injections entirely pain free. I have a had a lot of dental treatment and was nearly 20 before I realised first hand that injections didn't have to hurt. It really changed the way I feel about treatment which is lucky given all that I have had done in the last 17 years.  ( so you can guess where my dental fears used to lie! )

3 modern equipment allows us to do all this in a much more comfortable way.

I hate the noise of the drill - although we have not yet perfected the silent drill and alternatives like lasers are yet to do everything that we need them to,  we can still do lots to help with this. We encourage  our patients to bring along  music that they find  relaxing to listen to  or better still you can try our B-Calm device which acts as an auditory anaesthetic blending  white noises with natural sounds to help create a relaxed state of mind.

These are just a few of the many things that we can do.  If you are scared of the dentist then the very best place to start with any new dentist is with a good conversation, it does not matter whether this is  by e-mail, in person or telephone. Dentists who are interested in helping nervous patients will be happy to do this because it helps them to understand your fears better. And when we understand what your fears are we can start to develop a plan to help you reduce your anxiety and start to feel better about your dental health.

Finally, why not make a start on  your dental fear today. It does not matter how small a step you take but  fears are overcome one step at a time so  whether  it is taking our Free 7 day Beat Your Dental Fear E-course or gathering a list of questions that you want to ask,  go for it....and if we can assist  in any way just get in touch and one of our Edinburgh Dentists will be happy to help.


B-Calm At The Dentist Posted  25.2.10
I thought I would share  a bit of feedback from the patients at our Dental Practice in Edinburgh to our latest gadget.  Called the B-Calm it is  designed to help patients who suffer from dental anxiety or fear and  I mentioned it briefly back in Januarys blog posting. It specifically reduces the anxiety caused by the noises of the dental environment by playing a  mixture of relaxing audio tracks blended with white noise at just the right level. Like many good ideas it a very simple concept. Having experimented with noise cancelling earphones before I was initially doubtful that this device would be any different however, am happy to admit that I was wrong and our patient feedback on this has been excellent.

Although at present nothing will block out every single dental noise, this device really does make a difference and I have been amazed to watch even  my more sceptical patients become converts as they visibly relax while using it. We were  fortunate to be among the the first clinics in Scotland to offer this technology and I am very grateful to Dr Rich Varlisky  in  California for helping to make that happen. The audio tracks on the B-Calm device clearly seem to aid relaxation and are  much more than something to drown out the sounds of the drill. When asked, most of my patients say that it beats wearing their MP3 player  hands down. So we are giving this our seal of approval  as something that really does make a difference. We plan  to incorporate this into our dedicated nervous patient programme  and offer it to all patients who suffer from dental anxiety, dental fear or dental phobia.


Dental Fear and The Noise of the Drill Posted 8.1.10
Having just about thawed out from the deep freeze that ushered in the new year, 2010 is now well underway. 2009 finished on a real high at our Dental Practice in Edinburgh when we found out that we had won the Best Dental Team ( Scotland) category at the Dentistry Awards. It provided a real boost and increased our motivation to take the practice to new levels in 2010.

In 2010 we have big plans to develop the care that offer at the practice further. The aims of our dental team remain the same; providing, pain free and stress free, beautiful dentistry that places the dental health of our patients first. We aim to do all this in a welcoming, non judgemental and positive environment. This year we will continue to push our standards higher than before and increase the range of treatments that we offer to our patients.

For our patients who suffer from dental anxiety we are currently trialling a new device that significantly reduces the noises that you hear when treatment is taking place. The device blends a relaxing sounds from nature with white noise that acts to cancel out a lot of the higher frequency noises in the dental surgery.

This means that the usually high pitched drilling noise that many people hate is significantly reduced. When combined with our injection free cosmetic treatments such as Inman Aligners or Resin Bonding it does represent another step forwards in making dentistry more accessible to patients who suffer from dental anxiety. The initial response from our nervous patients has been  fantastic. I will report back more on this as the year progresses.

Finally if you know someone who has a new years resolution to beat their dental anxiety why not suggest that they try out 7 day Beat Your Dental Fear E-course. Over 150 patients have successfully completed the course since it launched last autumn.



How To Stop being Scared Of The Dentist Posted 9.11.2009

Do you think an Open House would help?

We know that taking the first few steps to beating any fear are the hardest, and dental fear is no exception. As a team we are always looking for ways to help people want to beat their dental fear but are too nervous or scared to take the first step. We know that for the vast majority of people things get much much easier after the first few steps. This lead to the development of our 7 day e-course which in turn has become a plans to hold an open night at our dental practice in Edinburgh.


At the open night we hope to provide a chance for people to come and see us without actually having to have a consultation or an examination.


Several of our team will be on hand with wine, soft drinks and nibbles. The wine will be purely for medicinal purposes and the nibbles will of course be sugar free! They will be happy to talk about anything, be it teeth, dental fears or something else all together. We really want this to be a chance for anyone who finds the thought of a "real" visit just too stressful to come along without any of the "scary stuff" happening. Friends and family members providing moral support will be made welcome too. I would love to know whether you think this is a good idea or not.


Our first ever Open Evening will be on Wednesday 25th November running between 5:30pm and 8:30 pm. So if you or someone you know might benefit please come along. For more information visit the web site or just RSVP


Even if you are not particularly anxious but want to have an informal chat about any aspect of your dental care at all just drop in and see us on the night. Our friendly team will be lonely without any visitors so please do join us.

On a personal note I was delighted and proud to discover last week that our team at has been shortlisted in the "Dental Team of The Year - Scotland" category at the Dentistry Awards. There are 2 other practices in the running but we are the only dentist in Edinburgh to be shortlisted this category. The story was picked up and reported briefly in the Edinburgh Evening News too which was great.


The nomination is a great boost for our support team of Nurses, Hygienists, Receptionists, and Back Office Staff all of whom strive to make sure our patients are really cared for before, during and after their visits. Without them the our Dentists could not achieve the results for their patients that they do. We find out if we are the overall winners on the 4th of December..... fingers crossed.


Does Preventive Dentistry Make A Difference Posted 20.10.2009

Ok I admit it! I have fillings, lots of them, a good few root treatments too and a handful of crowns. In fact there is little that I do to my patients that I have not been on the receiving end of myself at one time or another. Great for helping me to be an empathetic dentist but given a choice of all this or no treatment at all what do you think I would choose?


Despite all of this treatment in my mouth, I have not experienced any new tooth decay for at least 10 what do I know that most people don't?


Here are my thoughts


First lets start with the old fashioned approach to dentistry, it goes something like this.....

At your check up the dentist finds tooth decay in your mouth -

so you have a filling.

At your next check up or the one after that there is more decay

and so another filling is done

and so it goes on, every so often

having filling after filling

So over a lifetime your ever increasing number of fillings that grow ever larger. Eventually teeth start to break and crowns or root fillings become necessary too. It seems like you are never away from the dentist and that your teeth just don't like you any you remember any of this from the past? I do!

Now lets look at the MODERN ALTERNATIVE = Preventive Dentistry

Your dentist knows that filling teeth IS NOT treating tooth decay.

They that a filling only treats the EFFECT of tooth decay.

Treating tooth decay actually means stopping the process that caused the hole in the first place

So instead he or she sets about finding out WHY you are getting tooth decay

Then helps you to sort this problem out

All this is done without a drill going anywhere near your teeth

A preventive or minimally invasive dentist might

  • analyse your diet,

  • examine a sample of plaque from your mouth under a microscope

  • test your saliva to find out if it is helping or hindering

  • ask a skilled dental hygienist to devise a killer home care routine for you

  • use a laser scanner to identify early decay

These are just some of the things that that I have befitted from personally and lead to our team being shortlisted as preventive practice of the year in 2007. The tests themselves do nothing but an experienced preventive dentist will use the information they provide to create a customised plan of action which can help you to eliminate the tooth decay process from your life. permanently

If you can stop the decay process, and it really is possible to do this without living like a Saint, then the amount of dental treatment that you need in future will be far far less. Now hands up anyone who actually likes having treatment done?........


It sounds so simple and obvious but it is true.


Over the years our team have helped hundreds of nervous patients regain control of their dental health. They have been able to stop the decay process in their mouths and as a result have need far less treatment. That is the perfect outcome and that aim of preventive dentistry.

If there is no new decay happening then treating any pre existing problem becomes much less urgent and can be carried out at a pace that is comfortable and stress free to all concerned. it means one less thing to worry about.


Equally if you are considering investing in any cosmetic treatment wouldn't you rather protect your investment by making sure that your mouth is as healthy as it can be before you start?


So if you would like any advice or help treating tooth decay why not start with our simple 4 point prevention plan on our web site. It's not rocket science but as a starting point it will improve your chances of becoming decay free. Or better still drop our team a line with your question and they will be happy to oblige.



Scared Of The Dentist - Beat The Fear Cycle



After an extensive search a new dental colleague is joining the Craigentinny Team in the next few weeks. As we have a very special interest in helping nervous patients overcome their anxieties it was very important to us to find a caring dentist who understands the fears anxieties and needs of a nervous or phobic patient. As a result our search took some time, but at long last we are please to welcome Dr David Brown BDS to Craigentinny Dental Care in Edinburgh.

Dave as he likes to be known, is a very experienced dentist with wide ranging interests. After talking to him for a short time it becomes evident that not only is he passionate about his dentistry but that he cares sincerely about his patients. We were chatting recently when we got into a discussion about a problem that we had both identified that keeps many people away from the dentist. We described it in slightly different ways but essentially we were talking the same language.



I call it the "Fear Cycle," it goes something like this,

1. you are scared of the dentist

2. so you don't go along until you are really having a BIG problem.

3. When you do you find the treatment for this BIG problem incredibly stressful and

4. as a result your worst fears are conformed.......

5. so that you continue to believe that dentistry is scary and you wont be back!

6. Until the next time it happens again----go back to Item 1

Sound familiar?

Breaking this Fear Cycle is critical to beating your dental fear. Imagine a situation where you had a healthy, gorgeous smile, it is well cared for and each time you visit the dentist, we only have a look around and give things a gentle clean. This is the reality for many people, and preventive dental care can help almost anyone to achieve this.

The trick lies in breaking the "Fear Cycle." The very best way to do this is to resolve to visit the dentist BEFORE you experience your next dental emergency. When you are going in to see the dentist knowing that nothing has to be done on a specific day you will feel much less stressed, more relaxed and in control.

If you attend this way you will be better equipped to explain to the dentist what it is that frightens you and what support you feel you need from them. At a routine visit rather than an emergency one, your dentist can work with you to create a detailed programme of prevention that can help you to avoid the extreme situation where you experience toothache or severe pain.

Recognising that the best time to visit the dentist is when you are not in pain is big step towards beating your fear.

Here are just 3 things that you could try

  1. Find a dentist that is truly interested in treating nervous patients

  2. Visit Dental Fear Central it is a great source of advice and support and recommendations

  3. Try our free 7 day beat your dental fear eCourse

Or feel free to get in touch with our friendly team of dentists here at Craigentinny who are happy to hear from you in person, by e-mail or telephone.


Dental Fear or Dental Phobia - A Gentle Introduction Posted 20.07.009
We are right in the middle of some major practice development right now. This goes on all the time along side the dentistry, but the arrival of our Practice Manager last September has allowed Myself and John to allocate more time to improving our services and developing our team. After many discussions with my team about the barriers that keep nervous patients or people with dental anxiety away from dental practices, we agreed that something was needed to help people bridge the gap between WANTING to see a dentist and actually going ahead and making contact.

As a result our first ever e-course recently went from concept to reality in just 14 days. The information was all there so it was an easy matter to get it organised into bite sized chunks. It was launched on our web site recently already more than 50 participants have completed the course. it has been great to receive e-mails from many of the participants who have found it to be helpful. It is a totally free resource and offers a daily e-mail for 7 consecutive days where we share some of the many tips, tricks and tools that we have used to help dentally phobic patients over the last 20 years. Even if you live no where near us you are welcome to participate. If you know someone who is too scared to see a dentist why not send them the link to the Dental Fear E-course.

It was also a real boost to get such a positive reponse to this idea from the site administrator at Dental Fear Central who helped to test the course and gave some great feedback too. As a resource for patients it is in my opinion up there among the best.

Ideas from our recent practice meeting it also lead us to a radical overhaul of the options that are available to nervous patients . Tomorrow we will be reviewing what progress we have made as a team in helping our patients enter a less stressful world of dentistry. Some of my most enjoyable days happen when we see the practice moving forwards, hopefully this is one.








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Craigentinny Dental Care

57 Duddingston Crescent

Edinburgh EH15 3AY

Tel 0131 669 2114