What was the reason for your dental phobia?
I believe that my dental phobia arose from an experience when I was a child. I went to the dentist and can remember being held down in the chair whilst the gas mask was placed over my mouth. I can remember seeing the dentist and nurse leaning over me and then waking up. At approximately sixteen years of age I went back to a dentist and had a panic attack – after these experiences I did not visit a dentist again until I was twenty four years old.
What made you decide to take the first step in contacting a dentist despite your phobia?
My first step in approaching the dentist despite my phobia was because I had a tooth which had deteriorated to such a state there was barely any tooth visible. The tooth was very painful.
What made you choose the practice/clinic you did?
When a new friend became aware of my fear of dentists she recommended her own dentist which was your practice. She herself had been scared of dentists until she had visited your practice. She said the dentist practice had been supportive of her as she had been afraid of the dentists.
Describe your dental experience
My anxiety regarding visiting the dentist would begin as soon as I made the appointment. The evening before I would be worried and would think of things which could result in my non attendance for an appointment. Prior to me visiting the Kirkby/Arnold practice I had walked out of a dentist rather than have treatment. I would describe my feelings as being terrified! In respect of the treatment – I am afraid of needles, the sight of blood, sounds of the drilling, not being in control of what is taking place. I have been so anxious that I feared I would faint. I have felt panic stricken to the extent of wanting to get out of the dentist chair whether the treatment was completed or not!
How did you manage to overcome your dental phobia?
I managed to overcome my dental phobia through the patience of the my personal dentist who has been very patient with me, understanding my fear and talking me through any treatment. I have been made to feel that it is ‘OK to be anxious’ and have been supported throughout any dental procedure. I have been encouraged to use my relaxation tape and on occasion when I have forgotten this my dentist has provided me with a relaxation tape.
How do you currently feel about your dental phobia?
I am still a little apprehensive about tooth extractions but am much more relaxed in respect of having fillings, crowns etc.
Any other comments or words of advice to people out there who are suffering from dental phobia and are avoiding the dentist?
My advice is not to avoid the dentist no matter how fearful you are. I felt stupid initially explaining how fearful I was of the dentist, but it was the best thing I have done! I would strongly advise speaking to your dentist and sharing your fears so they can help you through the process.
The Arnold Dental Centre – 77c High Street, Nottingham, NG5 7DJ, Web: www.thearnoldcentre.co.uk, Tel: 0115 920 0571