"I was just a babbling wreck"
Successful Southampton businessman Lee Haynes takes most situations in his stride. He's a man in control of his life who has built a reputation for his no-nonesense approach. So hearing him admit to being petrified of going to the dentist comes as a surprise - but that's exactly how it was for Lee. This is his story.
"Since the age of 14 I've probably been to the dentist twice - and I'm 43 now. As a child I can remember running out of the dentists with purple dye all over my teeth because I've always hated going to the dentist. I can still remember sitting in the dentist chair shaking with fear. I wouldn't let them carry on. I've always hated going to the dentist. When I was about 24 I had pain from a wisdom tooth and ended up going to a dentist. I can still remember sitting in the dentist chair shaking with fear - and then I just lost it and lashed out. I ended up walking out the door and putting up with the pain", he said.
About a year ago Lee broke a tooth when he was out at a business function and once again he thought he could put up with the pain. But finally it got too much for him and he asked his partner Caroline to help him find a dentist who would understand his fears and take care of the growing number of problems in his mouth.
After doing some research she found the Stardent website. It was informative and she was impressed by Stardent's awards in best patient care and made an appointment for Lee to see Mitra. "It took me about 15 minutes to pluck up the courage to get out of the car - I was just a babbling wreck. Mitra and all the staff here were great, they realised how petrified I was and were really understanding", he said.Read more...
Mitra explained that Lee's case was one of the most challenging she had dealt with simply because his fear was so extreme and he was in a lot of pain on both sides of his mouth. It was hard to diagnose the source of the pain as most of his back teeth were in a bad state. "I have worked with many patients who are scared of coming to the dentist but Lee was different. All I could do was look in his mouth - I couldn't touch anything and it was difficult getting x-rays done," she said. After an initial examination Mitra told Lee he needed root canal work, new fillings and some fillings needed replacing too. "I told her there was no way I could do that - and that's when she told me about sedation", he said.
- Reduces your anxiety
- Minimises any discomfort during your dental treatment.
- Keeps you conscious at all times but you may fall asleep as you relax - For more info please read the sedation page on the website.
- Here at Stardent we have our own Consultant Anaesthetist with more than 10 years specialist training in all forms of sedation and anaesthetic techniques.
- He will remain with you throughout while the dentist is doing the dental treatments.
"When I came back for the treatment I was in a bad way - I was shaking like a leaf. When they gave me the sedative injection, they had to wait half an hour before they did it because my heart rate was through the roof", he said. Under sedation Mitra was able to work for three hours on one side of his mouth - and on a second occasion she completed the work.
"For me it was the only way, short of strapping me down in a chair, that anyone would be able to get near me to do anything in my mouth. I was very pleased about the fact that Mitra was able to complete all these different treatments herself in one session without the need to refer me to other dentists for different type of treatments. From simple fillings to complicated root canal work and surgical extractions, For me sedation was the only way, short of strapping me down in a chair they were all done under sedation in one session", he said.
Fear of the dentist
"I don't know where my fear comes from, I just can't stand the thought of having something metal in my mouth. It's not a fear of pain as such - I used to play rugby and I've had stitches in my leg and face for example, with no anaesthetic at all, I'm not bothered with that type of thing. It's just teeth, I've got a problem with", said Lee.
Mitra explained that people who are fearful of visiting the dentist often experience a 'cycle of avoidance'. "They don't go to the dentist until they are in real pain and that can mean they require invasive treatment that can enforce their fear of dentistry. It's a challenging situation." she said.
What is sedation?
Sedation is very different from dental chair anesthesia or even 'light general anesthesia'. The clinical provision of conscious sedation will allow you to walk into the dental practice having been able to eat and drink beforehand. You can have your treatment course with sedation and be able to walk out of the practice with simply another responsible adult to aid you.
"After my dental treatment was completed and the acute toothache was gone, Mitra offered me the chance to see her collegue Professor Gareth who could help me with my dental fear by hypnosis." In the meantime she focused on a condition called Bruxism that I didn't even know I was suffering from - Please see under TMJ on the website. "That meant that I was grinding my teeth badly especially at night and in stressful situations during the day."
"Everything Mitra said made sense I really was very tense all the time which caused a lot of jaw and muscular pain in my face. Mitra also made me an appliance called a Night Guard which I had to wear every night. It started lifting the pain and tension in my face. By this point I felt I could totally trust Mitra and felt at so much ease at Stardent that I no longer had any problems with seeing her for my follow up checks. I was relaxed in the chair as she was examining my teeth and that felt great", explained Lee. "I was relaxed in the chair as she was examining my teeth and that felt great."
"Having dental work done under sedation was the answer for me. It wasn't cheap but I would recommend this to anyone who gets in as much of a state as I do about visiting the dentist. Without this option I would still be climbing up the walls with pain", he said.
"Anyone who has had bad experiences in the past is bound to be anxious - and I do understand their apprehension. At Stardent we pride ourselves on helping people who have a real issue with coming to the dentist. We can take our time, build your confidence, address your fears - and if needs be use sedation to carry out the necessary procedures."