A first hand story of Dental Phobia and it’s Possible Cure
Following horrific dental treatment as a child, I have not been able to have any treatment on my teeth for over 50 years without their using a general anaesthic, under which they would only do vital extractions, I thought I would never be able to relax in a dentist chair again. Until recently.
Due to massive tooth pain I had no choice to make an appointment with my local dentist. As is the normal routine, they referred me to the dental hospital at the Royal London Hospital. Knowing my history, they made me an appointment with their specialist care team. It was then that one of their dentists realized that I may qualify to take part in a new specialist project running at Guy’s hospital. I was willing to try anything by this stage, and so I waited for an appointment to be made by this project.
And so it was that I was introduced to the Dental Psychology team at the 26th floor of Guy’s Hospital, and met Clinical Nurse Specialist Geanina Bruj-Milasan.
I was instantly put at rest when I found the first appointment would be purely to see if I were qualifying for the project. Once they realized I was, it was explained that the first appointments would not involve treatment of any kind, they would be no more than a talk with Geanina giving me a chance to actually handle the equipment used by dentists and dental hygenist. This was a comprehensive acquaint with tools from the mirror to , and including, drills and injection needles. It took around 5 appointments to see that I was re-assured that not only were the tools less horrid than I’d expected, but that I thought that I could start to carry out minor treatments, now knowing that is could stop the treatment at any time simply by raising my hand, also that I could request extra numbing gel at any time.
This training resulted in my confidence slowly returning as I now realized that I had some say over how things went.
Actual treatment started once I had regained my confidence in the equipment and people around me. Firstly a dental practitioner capped one of my teeth, and I needed no more anaesthetic than the numbing gel.
Following this they arranged for a session with the dental hygienist who did some work on my teeth.
Both of these treatments were done with Geanina present in case I had any problems.
It was here that the problems caused by the Coronavirus lockdown took place, and so there was a delay in my receiving my next treatment. However after a few weeks break, I was back in. Gianina offered to be present, but I had sufficient confidence to undergo this treatment without her needing to be there.
It turned out that this appointment was to be an extraction. It was explained that all of the extra precautions (PPE equipment) were caused by rules to reduce the spread of Covid 19. Once I was comfortable, a nasal cannula was strapped into position, and they adjusted the measure of gag and air to make me comfortable as possible, they then used numbing gel (which I had requested), and started carrying out the extraction. Luckily the tooth they had to extract was already loose, so the process didn’t last long.
I know that I was nervous during this extraction, but I realized that so would anybody be, so I was proud of myself in being able to have an extraction carried out without our having to peel me from the ceiling.
I will never be able to thank Gianian and the team at Guy’s Hospital for their input. I would recommend this service to any other phobics out there, and it would be great if all dental hospitals go just that bit out of their way to operate the same service, as I have now seen the benefits of this type of service.
I have just received the date for my next treatment – I’ll let you know how that goes.