A new approach

It's normal for anyone to feel anxious about the dentist but it can become a problem when children are not able to undergo dental treatment because they feel scared or upset.

A dentist treating a young patient.

Each year over 50,000 children need to undergo general aneasthetic to have their teeth taken out. For some children the reason they need this is simply because they are feeling anxious or fearful of the dentist. This procedure often involves long waiting times for treatment and is costly for the NHS.

We have found a better way, using cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which is highly succesful for children with a range of mental health conditions. Our approach, based on the principles of CBT, helps children and young people get the dental treatment they need whilst helping them feel less scared of going to the dentist in future. We've developed a CBT guide called 'Your teeth you are in control', that contains tips and activities to be completed with the dentist to reduce fear and anxiety in children.


The guide I got really helped, I think everyone should be able to use these books because  of how much help they give

12-year-old patient


The guide 'Your teeth you are in control', was developed for young people aged 9-16 as well as guides for the parents and dental teams. So far this is proving to be a success.

We want our research to help as many young people as possible so we've been travelling around the country delivering training sessions to dental teams on how best to use our guides with children and parents. We've also made our own training videos which can be viewed on our site.

Our research

Our reach

Due to the demand for our resources we have worked with dental professionals around the world (see the orange countries in the map below) to translate them into the following languages:

  • Mandarin
  • Chilean
  • Norwegian
  • Swedish
  • Arabic
  • Slovenian
Our awards

‘Your teeth you are in control’ has been approved by the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry (BSPD) and was second place in the BSPD Outstanding Innovation Award 2017. The resources were highly commended in the BMA Patient Information Awards 2017 and shortlisted for the Information for Children award. ‘Your teeth you are in control’ won Best Patient Driven Innovation/Improvement/Collaboration in the Yorkshire and Humber Academic Health Science network Innovation, Improvement and Impact Awards 2017.

Key organisations and endorsements

Flagship institutes

The University’s four flagship institutes bring together our key strengths to tackle global issues, turning interdisciplinary and translational research into real-world solutions.