Exactly one week ago today I completed one of the things that was festering on my bucket list. To most of you who read this, what I am about to say will not be much of an achievement. However, for me, this has been a massive but much neglected goal. Last week I had my final dental procedure.
My fear of the dentist started at a very young age. I was taken for my very first appointment before the age of five and all I remember from that appointment was that I was held down in the chair with the gas mask forced on my face. The whole trauma of this appointment was supposed to pacified by the Wendy house that was given for being a brave girl. This did little to make me feel better.
Since that one appointment I have tried to avoid the dentist at all costs. When I was told at the age of seven that I would need seven teeth removed I stood my ground and refused to go. Well, I metaphorically stood my ground – in actual fact when my dad tried to take me to our family dental clinic I forcefully grabbed onto a bollard in the street and refused to let go. Now being a very obedient child who infrequently caused trouble my father new that I meant business.
You could argue that this is when all my problems began. I would only ever go to the dentist when I was in pain and therefore associated dentists with excruciating mind-numbing pain. My following experiences were not pleasant.
On one occasion, after having to go to the emergency dentist, I was six needles into the numbing process when the needle broke in my mouth. The dentist promised me that this almost never happens…yet it had to happen to me. This did not build up my faith in those that practice dentistry.
Another time, admittedly due to my own negligence, a cluster of abscesses had built up under a dead tooth. With my severely swollen face I went, once again, to the emergency dentist who had to use a strange hoover-like device to suck the poison out. It was nasty.
Strangely, it was neither of these experiences that made me put on my big girl pants and actually force myself get my teeth sorted. Instead, it was the following incident.
On another “emergency dentist” appointment, the dentist accidentally chipped the tooth next to the tooth that she was extracting. Now rather than getting this sorted I allowed it to rot away and once again I had another dead tooth. When the front of this tooth fell off earlier this year I knew, just knew, I had to do something about it otherwise I would run the risk of looking like Amy Winehouse or even worse, a guest on the Jeremy Kyle show.
I knew the only way to get me in the chair was to go private. This may seem a rather random thing to say but I hate wasting money and if I knew that I had to pay for something then I would follow it through. Two good friends (Rebecca Rainbow and Katy Hays) both recommended Ollie and Darsh. They knew how scared I was and assured me that I had nothing to worry about and to give them a go.
So of I went. What initially struck me was that the place didn’t smell. The smell of dentist (which ironically is a smell of cleanliness) always turned my stomach and filled me with dread and panic. So far, so good – I hadn’t ran out of the place screaming with sweat and panic oozing out of me. Instead, I had my initial appointment with Suzi. I was initially put at ease as she explained the process of how Ollie and Darsh worked. Everything was up to me. The dentists – Ollie and Darsh – would give me advice about what procedures I needed but it was up to me if and when we decided to go through with it.
With that being said, I booked in for my second appointment – this time with Ollie – and I was told that I needed quite a few procedures. I needed: two cleanings, a tooth extraction, three fillings, a root canal, and the procedure to build the crown on the dead tooth. It was probably the fact that they could save my rotted tooth that swung it for me. I decided to go with Ollie and Darsh.
It took a few months for me to actually start my procedure because I was hospitalised shortly after my appointment with Ollie. However, Ollie and Darsh were so accommodating – they waited until I was healthy enough to start my smile plan.
Admittedly, with every procedure I was nervous. Heck, it is hard to suddenly let go of 30 years of fear, however, once I started going to Ollie and Darsh more regularly I actually started to look forward to my appointments. Without sounding too overzealous, it was like going for a spa day but for my mouth.
The dentists never hurt me, they were gentle and reassuring and I felt like everything was on my terms.
Besides the great work that Ollie and Darsh do (who by the way should not just be thought of as dentists but architects of the mouth – seriously, they are artists) the support staff were equally as lovely and reassuring. From dental nurses, hygienists and support staff, they always had a kind or encouraging words or time for me.
The cynical among you readers would argue that this is a business and the livelihood depends on the good manners and procedures of the staff but I don’t necessarily think that it is just training. I personally felt that each member of the Ollie and Darsh team cared about not only my dental plan but also about how I was doing. It is these small things that go a long way with me. I am genuinely saddened that I have no more procedures booked in for the future.
Going to Ollie and Darsh and getting my teeth sorted has genuinely been the best thing that I have done this year and if anyone does have a fear of the dentist I would implore you to check them out and give them a try. Let them help you find your smile.
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