I was so very down about the state of my mouth, I hadn’t smiled properly in 3 years and I had stopped smiling with my mouth open altogether in the year preceding my first visit to Beacon Dental Care and Karen.
Most of my teeth were rotten, bits of my teeth kept falling out (including my front teeth) and I seemed to have a constant taste of pus, with intermittent pain and swelling in my mouth. I felt that I had lost control of my dental health completely. It was horrible and I felt a complete mess because of it all.
My fear about going to the dentist was such that I needed several counselling sessions to get to the stage where I could even think about having treatment done.
I found reviews of Beacon dental surgery on a dental fear forum, and saw on their website the magic words, “we will not tell you off for not having looked after your teeth” which was very reassuring to see. I phoned up the practice and was greeted by a very welcoming and kind person on the other end of the phone who was very understanding about my circumstances. They said that I had done well to have gotten as far as phoning them, which made me feel straight away that they had a real understanding and respect for nervous patients.
They then offered, if I felt up to it, the opportunity to just come into see the surgery and have a look around without the pressure of having a check up or any treatment done. I was promised that I wouldn’t have to sit in a dentist chair, or even go into the room where the treatment takes place…I could just see what I felt comfortable doing and go from there. They were even able to get me an appointment to visit soon after, to keep up the momentum, which was a big help for me too..It also gave me less time to worry about it.
I was very warmly welcomed on the day of my visit, and instantly put at ease by again being reminded that I wouldn’t have to do anything that I was uncomfortable doing and that it could all be at my own pace. I was shown around the lounge waiting area and offered a drink. The waiting room itself was more like a lounge and it smelled of baking bread and freshly brewed coffee, not at all ‘medical’. I was even showed the bathrooms, which I instantly loved as it was like being in a mini spa bathroom, with the lovely hand wash & hand cream and the perfumes that I was told I was free to try out. That really appealed to me and made me smile. It was that kind of attention to detail that made me think that this was the place for me to get treatment.
I was introduced to Karen and she came across instantly as someone who was very welcoming and accepting of people and their anxieties, I even felt able to open my mouth in front of her, so that she could get a quick idea of what it was she would be dealing with.
I cannot remember the exact order of what happened that day, (it was 2009) or exactly what was said…I just know that I went from being someone who couldn’t bear the idea of having to go to a dentist to someone who met a dentist and decided to book a check up…
On the day of the health check, Karen asked me if there were particular areas that I had difficulty with, and if I could think of anything that she could do which might be of help, along with telling me things that she could do, which I hadn’t even thought of…I was given choices and spoken to with respect and patience, which was so important to me. I was taken seriously and my fears were acknowledged. I was given time to talk through my fears beforehand and was told that I could ask her to stop at any point during the procedure. Karen was able to (and still does) make sure that I left with a feeling of progress and empowerment.
When I first had an injection, I was shaking so very much, I was so scared and panicky. I completely lacked confidence in my ability to be able to cope, but with Karen’s help I managed it. I had an injection, and was even able to have a filling done after. Amazing. I would love to be able to tell you everything that she has done to help me, but to be honest when I feel as anxious as that, everything is rather a blur. I know that she has given me practical tips on how to deal with my anxiety, tips on self care/healthy eating. I feel cold when anxious and she has a blanket which she puts over me and a bear filled with lavender scented beads for me to hold which has a very comforting effect, something that I would never have thought of. Along with talking me through everything, always asking me how I feel and what I feel up to having done at every appointment. She has been so very patient and supportive.
I have my up days and down days, where I may just be able to go in to see Karen, without having any treatment done. If this is the case, I am still able to leave feeling that I have still been able to make some progress even if it is just talking through treatment to come and option available with that. I have much fewer down days now, and more importantly, when I do have a day like that, I don’t feel like I am taking a backwards step, and am always able to leave on a positive note and am able to move on to my next appointment.
I still cannot get over the progress that I have made with Karen. It really has been so positive, life changing, even…
I’m sure, in fact, I know I have missed out so much of how Karen has helped me, it is so difficult for me to remember everything, as she has done so much. I guess though that the fact that I have gone from someone who needed counselling before I could even think about seeking treatment, and always having to have someone to accompany me to every appointment, to someone who has been able to have major dental work done on my own including root canal treatment and wisdom tooth extractions. I feel so much more positive about my smile, even though there is still work to be done. It’s amazing..she is amazing!