I’m 62 now, and have known Karen Sutton from Beacon Dental in Malvern for just over 2 years.
My attitude to dentistry was coloured at a very early age, as I can recall a fairly traumatic (for a toddler) visit when I was 3 years old. It wasn’t much better up into my teens, and I developed an abject terror of everything to do with the process. The sights, sounds and smells all seemed to point to another horrendous experience. As a result, once my life was my own I avoided the whole experience altogether.
Of course, in the intervening years, I just refused to discuss my phobia or even think about it. There were a couple of exceptions. In my twenties I took the problem to my doctor, who just prescribed some sedatives. I never took them as I thought I might be tricked into doing something I didn’t want to do. In my thirties I sought help again from another doctor, who referred me to outpatients to talk to a psychologist. When the discussion got very quickly around to my sex life, I lost confidence in that process too. Finally I went privately for hypnotherapy, but did not get much out of it, despite several sessions and repeated listening to the resulting tape. It was just another dead end.
For another 25 years I could not bear to utter any words associated with “dentist” or “teeth”, and hearing them made me extremely anxious. I knew that I probably needed a way of de-sensitising myself with a dentist whom I could trust implicitly, but the idea of exposing what had become a more and more ghastly set of teeth added to the problem. I feared censure and criticism by anyone I might consult, and was completely mortified. It was a vicious circle which I felt unable to break. I thought becoming 50 might be “the year”, but another 10 years passed.
My 60th birthday coincided with redundancy, so I thought there might be a window of opportunity between jobs – “now or never”. I’d’ been forcing myself to watch “10 Years Younger” on TV for some time, and did accept that dentistry had changed somewhat in 45 years. I spotted Beacon’s advert in the local paper, and even then I hung on to it for weeks!
Eventually I made contact with Karen – by email: I still couldn’t face showing myself. I think this was probably the biggest step of all! I received such a friendly email back, and arranged to go and chat. Everything snowballed from there. I was put so at ease by Karen and the team that although I started off with some apprehension, I quickly lost that and became interested in the process. There were no unpleasant sounds, sights or smells – how things have changed! The chair was BLUE, and it had to have the best view ever!
My treatment has been fairly prolonged and invasive, and my friends think I’ve been SO brave to have done it. Believe it or not, it didn’t really bother me too much. What better recommendation could there ever be than that? Karen has always been so welcoming, I found the whole thing interesting and we’ve had many a giggle. I would like to complain that at times I could neither see nor hear the comedies on the overhead DVD player, but only when it was something to my taste!
I feel proud of us both. It HAS been a turning point in my life and Karen and the team made it possible for me to make that turn. My friends even envy my experiences compared to theirs.
Although I would probably still feel apprehensive about seeing someone I didn’t know and trust, I can honestly say that since the end of my 2 years of treatment, I actually miss Karen. Fancy me ever being able to say that!