What was the reason for your dental phobia?
I remember one experience many years ago as a child, being told by the dentist to pull myself together or he wouldn’t do anything for me. The final bad experience that I had, at the age of 17, was when I had to have a wisdom tooth extracted. The dentist was not able to get me numb despite firing in injection after injection. Nothing seemed to numb the pain and in the end I pulled the drill out of my mouth. He warned me if I didn’t behave I would end up cutting my face open and this filled me with such fear that I’ve never really forgotten it.
What made you decide to take the first step in contacting a dentist despite your phobia?
After that awful experience I stopped going to the dentist, and even endured the pain of an abscess. I did lose that tooth in the end though but really I am so lucky that I still have the rest of my teeth despite avoiding the dentist for 20 years! It seemed that every time I would go to the dentist with a problem, it resulted in another bad experience or I would end up leaving just as the treatment was about to begin. I even tried having hypnotherapy. I would go along to the dentist, be hypnotised and about to undergo the treatment and I would realise it hadn’t worked and I’d go. I then came across sedation, a dentist I knew from school offered it at his practice so I went to see him. I also felt as though it was easier to speak to him more as I knew him. He had a GP that came into the surgery to administer the sedative but after a time he stopped offering the service due to a change in circumstances. I began looking for somewhere else that offered it and I came across an EDHT advertisement which said that they could help people like me.
What made you choose the practice/clinic you did?
I sent my husband along to try it first and find out all the information. He came back saying it was just the place for me so then I then came along and now you will have me forever more! It’s been an absolute godsend!
Describe your dental experience
It has been incredible. Nobody gets cross with me for being jumpy – I am a challenge but everyone has been wonderful, even the hygienists. Last time I came they gave me something to numb my gums which really worked. It has made me feel a bit more confident and don’t sit there worrying. I am more relaxed and it seems to get easier each time I come – I used to be all of a quiver. I still don’t like it but I’ve got fabulous teeth now – they’re all white with no big black blobs anymore. It’s made such a difference, it’s good!
How did you manage to overcome your dental phobia?
I think it is a case of mind over matter. I simply just didn’t see myself wearing false teeth. I had a brace as a girl, one of the ones that fitted in the roof of my mouth, and I didn’t get on with it. So I decided that I had to do something if I wanted to keep my teeth. I can now smile and feel proud that they’re mine. I am so chuffed. I have also always tried not to pass my fear on to my daughter.
How do you currently feel about your dental phobia?
My phobia is still there but I now know that it’s something I can overcome. I am always surprised how quick it goes when I am sedated, I come around and realise it’s all over already. Without the sedation I could never do it.
Any other comments or words of advice to people out there who are suffering from dental phobia and are avoiding the dentist?
Come to EDHT or find somebody else who is patient enough to talk you through treatment and offer sedation. I thoroughly recommend sedation to anybody who’s got a phobia – they don’t need to be phobic with that available. I’m proof that it can be done – here I am at my age and I have lovely teeth. It is incredible to think that I went for 20 years without going to the dentist. If I had to EDHT sooner I would not have lost my tooth. The care is brilliant for which I am really thankful for. All the staff seem to love their jobs and they are all wonderful. Thank you to everybody.
Evesham Dental Health Team – 16 Broadway Road, Evesham, Worcestershire, WR11 1BG, Web: www.eveshamdental.co.uk, Tel:01386 422 833