Many of us might be apprehensive at the thought of a visit to the dentist, but for a surprisingly large number of people, that anxiety can develop into a full-blown phobia. The condition, known as dentophobia, can become so bad that it prevents the sufferer from getting much needed dental care, resulting in a dramatic impact on their overall health.
Dentophobia was under the spotlight in C4’s new programme Never Seen a Doctor, presented by Katie Piper, who has undergone years of intensive medical care since being the victim of an acid attack eight years ago. The subject of the programme was ‘Britain’s medical shut-ins’; men and women who have become too scared to seek medical intervention for their problems.
As a leading London specialist dental practice that prides itself on its treatment of nervous patients, 76 Harley Street was asked to treat Janice and Greg who hadn’t seen a dentist for 15 and 30 years, respectively.
“We often treat complex cases that have been referred to us by other dentists and so working with the production team was a similar process,” lead dentist at 76 Harley Street, Dr Farid Monibi, explains: “We were sent Janice and Greg’s details and photographs showing the extent of the tooth decay. From this, we were able to advise them on what treatment they would require.”
Greg had developed severe periodontitis and was now left with just nine, rotten teeth and serious gum and bone deterioration. His lack of teeth had resulted in him wasting away over the years, whereas Janice’s dental problems meant she’d become morbidly obese on a diet of soft, fatty foods.
Loose and missing teeth and bad breath are only the most visible symptoms of the deterioration in their general health that has resulted from tooth decay. Janice’s obesity had developed into kidney failure the previous year and her daughter had become her full-time carer.
“Janice and Greg were incredibly nervous about receiving dental treatment and this had resulted in them both developing advanced tooth and gum decay,” Dr Monibi commented: “I was delighted to work with Katie and the team on the project because I believe it had an incredibly important message; dentophobia should never hold you back from receiving important dental care. If you are suffering from extreme anxiety, then seek out a dental practice such as 76 Harley Street that specialises in treating nervous patients.”
Dr Farid Monibi first treated Greg, using sedation to calm his understandable nerves. All nine of his rotten teeth were removed in the first stage of a planned treatment programme, before dentures moulds were taken. Janice’s teeth were then removed and she too was measured for dentures. Once their gums had healed, Janice and Greg returned to have their dentures fitted. Unfortunately, due to advanced bone reabsorption, Greg would need implants placed to secure the dentures, but Janice was able to have her new dentures fitted there and then and revealed her transformation to Greg and her daughter.
Seeing Janice’s transformation and those of the other men and women on the programme was fascinating, but the serious message behind Never Seen a Doctor was the highlight. Don’t let dentophobia hold you back; at 76 Harley Street our skilled and caring team can employ a wide range of methods to put you at your ease while you are receiving essential dental care.
76 Harley Street and the team will be back in next week’s programme, so tune in on the 18th. If you want to know more about how we treat nervous patients, email [email protected] or call 020 7631 3276 to speak to one of the team.