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Experience dentistry without fear

Welcome to Lighthouse Dental Anxiety Service in Ipswich, Suffolk

The terms dental fear, dental anxiety and dental phobia are used very frequently, often believed to mean the same thing. Although the terms may be related (at least in terms of describing an unpleasant feeling about going to the dentist), they differ in seriousness and in the way in which they are managed.

Dental fear and dental anxiety are different, at least if we look at how the terms are described in the dictionaries, but since most people refer to both terms as unpleasant feelings when faced with a dental situation, the terms will be used interchangeably in this text.

Therefore, we, as dental professionals have a lot of understanding and respect for anxious, fearful or phobic patients regardless of their cause or categorisation.


Fear is a natural reaction to a real threat. In the literature, fear is described as feeling of strong unpleasantness caused by a specific, rational and real threat like pain, danger or harm. It appears to be stronger than anxiety. As an example, it is thus natural to be fearful of falling into the tiger’s enclosure.


Anxiety is described as a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.


Phobia is a strong fear caused by an irrational threat. Exposure to the situation that causes the phobia will invariably lead to an anxiety attack. Although the reason for the phobia may be irrational, the effects are very unpleasant and feel very real for the person who experiences a phobic attack.

How common is dental anxiety?

The Dental Health Survey from 2009 found that in the U.K. , approximately 36% of the population had moderate dental anxiety and 12% had extreme dental anxiety. As you can see, dental anxiety affects about 48% of the population.

Dental Anxiety

How do we help our patients?

Patients with dental anxiety have often had unpleasant or painful experiences in the dental chair, either as children or as adults. They often feel very vulnerable and ashamed in a dental situation.

To help our patients to diminish their feelings of fear or guilt, we treat them with empathy and respect. We are never judgmental and we are always striving to perform the dental procedures with minimal discomfort. We never push our patients to go through any procedures for which they are not ready and are always happy to adjust our ways of working to suit their needs.

We consider dental anxiety to be a very serious problem and we will do all we can to help you overcome it.

We will also do our best to help you undergo dental treatment without fear or discomfort.

How can we help you control your dental anxiety in order to receive treatment?

First, we need to assess:

Your medical history

The level of your dental anxiety,

The need for dental treatment.

At your first visit to our dental anxiety practice in Ipswich, Suffolk, we will have a look at you medical history and the level of your dental anxiety. If you think you can cope, we could also do a basic dental examination. Most patients will allow us to have a gentle look at their teeth and some others have preferred to book a follow–up appointment for this purpose.

After the first or second visit, we can decide together what method of treatment that would be best for you.

Tailoring the treatment according to your needs

The best long-term results in getting over your dental anxiety are delivered by Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Initially however, your priorities may be just to get help to overcome your anxiety so you can cope with more urgent treatment.

In order to ease your anxiety we can offer dental conscious sedation, either as intravenous sedation or inhalation sedation.

For more information on what dental sedation (conscious sedation) is and how it works, please follow one of the menu links.