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"My Story"

letsconnect

letsconnect

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Recently, I bought a slim book called "Building a No Fear Practice". I think the dentist who wrote this book was extremely brave in openly admitting to his past actions. This may provoke some strong emotional reactions, which is why I decided to post this under "discussion and debates".

The second chapter is called "My Story", and here is an excerpt:



"In the early years of my practice, when a child would "misbehave", I would wrap them up in a restraint and tough it out. I was always careful not to hurt them and I always gave an anesthetic, but sometimes they cried for the whole appointment. In retrospect, I never really knew for sure whether they were just scared or if the anesthetic didn't work.

Rather than "give in" to the child, I assumed the responsibility of getting the child's teeth restored no matter what. In addition, I assumed the responsibility of being the parent while the child was in my office. In fact, if the parent had done a poor job of teaching the child to behave and mind adults, I thought it was my job to correct that deficiency by whatever means necessary, so I could get the treatment done. In the end, I was exhausted, my assistant was drained, the parent rarely appreciated my effort, and the child, needless to say, was very unhappy.

And how do you think I acted when the next patient came in a few minutes later? I was still trembling from the last one, and my patience had already worn thin.

When the crying child had left, I used to rationalize away my feelings of distress. What a spoiled brat! Why weren't his parents teaching him to be mindful of adults? Besides, it couldn't have hurt - I gave him an anesthetic. Well, even if it did hurt a little, he'll forget it. Sadly I know now that this is not true. The children didn't forget and neither did I.

In the beginning, I hated doing things that way, but as the years went by, I got accustomed to the crying. I never liked it, but I thought it was simply something that I couldn't avoid. I had to get the job done and to teach the child that I was in charge and they'd better get used to it.

Unfortunately, what they really learned was to avoid the dentist whenever possible. When it was time for their six-month checkup, I noticed that some didn't want to come back. Big surprise! I remember a few times having to go out to the parking lot and help their mothers pull them out of the car. They usually had to go straight back into the crying room. It's sad for me to admit that I thought all this was necessary. Sadder still to admit that it took me almost two decades to change those methods.

...

For the first two decades, I myself sometimes succumbed to these pressures. I felt that if I let a child get away without doing any treatment, he would not only get spoiled, but he would likely try the same tactic the next time. I was convinced that kids needed to learn who was in charge.

Looking for a better solution, I made an extensive study of tranquillizers and sedatives, but as I tried them, they only seemed to work about half the time. When they didn't work, the child had to go back into the crying room. I continued to look for the perfect drug, one that would always work. I never did find it. I did notice that if I increased the dose, the success rate went up; that is, the child was heavily sedated and I could do treatment. However, some of those kids were pretty hard to wake up. That made me uneasy. Even with a reversal drug, I felt uncomfortable. Light sedation didn't work that well and heavy sedation had a potential for serious danger. There had to be a better way.

Occasionally I'd see a study in a dental journal about the long-term effects on children who had had a bad experience with a dentist. Data was beginning to accumulate that frightening childhood experiences were not soon forgotten. As adults, these people often avoided going to a dentist for routine care, which resulted in many of their teeth becoming so badly decayed that they had to be removed. I simply had to find a way to have children leave my office with a good memory of their visit.

Then it hit me. All I had to do was decide in my own mind that the child's memory was more important than fixing the tooth. I really didn't need to worry about spoiling the child; that's a parenting issue. My job was to repair teeth in a way that made the child feel safe, comfortable, and not afraid to come back. That's when my approach to children began to change. I got rid of my restraining board and took the door off the quiet room. My focus shifted from relationships based on authority to pleasant memories and trust. With many years behind me now of using this different approach, I believe that it is never necessary to use fear-producing methods of behavior management."




 
brit

brit

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My focus shifted from relationships based on authority to pleasant memories and trust. With many years behind me now of using this different approach, I believe that it is never necessary to use fear-producing methods of behavior management."

This is so true -the patient's experience is more important than fixing the tooth (unless maybe the child is in a lot of pain).
Restraint should be avoided at all costs (it is not allowed in UK and much of Europe anyway - especially in form of papoose boards) but if a young child needs to be kept still for a brief moment for their own safety - it is better that a parent does this since they have a great deal of 'credit' in the 'emotional bank'.
This is why 'Mum' holds baby for vaccinations at a medical doctor's.

A non-interventionist friendly General dentist who is more interested in building a long-term relationship and avoiding conflict, can maybe be better for a child than a pediatric dentist who will tend to reach for sedation and often (over)treat unnecessarily.

With my own kids, I have sought out non-authoritarian dentists who I know to have good injection technique so that even at age 3 1/2 one could accept treatment with just a local anaesthetic and later on a dentist with Healozone for those tiny cavities.

Ideally for the child to build a trusting relationship with a dentist, they have to visit regularly from an early age...and build lots of 'no big deal' memories before any treatment is ever required...if they refuse to open their mouth at age 2 or 3..fine...play with the buttons on the chair and try again in 6 months...a child at age 5 should be allowed to refuse a cleaning...it can wait 6 months...honestly it can...forcing the issue does not help.

Children who like and trust their dentist say from age 5 upwards can then accept routine treatment with just LA, child friendly explanations and a modicum of control..the stop signal...whereas the papoosed child has zero control...a high fear level and is running a real danger of anxiety causing the anaesthetic to wear off too quickly.....
My own childhood dentist did some comfortable small fillings on me at age 5 in 1960s with my co-operation....I had seen him so many times and nothing had happened..just a quick look....and my main dislike of going there was after my first dreaded 'GA gas mask experience' for extractions...was always scared after that....it was a loss of control experience of adults imposing their will...it was probably far less psychologically damaging than being papoosed though.

All credit to this dentist for admitting what happened in the past..presumably he was trained to act like this...I fear in USA this is still the approach to some extent but behavioural methods do work and are a long-term investment in the child's dental health...if you never create and provoke the fear, you will never create the adult avoidance pattern...if the child is not in pain..baby teeth are just baby teeth and can often just be observed until the child is better able to accept mainstream treatment which with the right approach is often as early as age 3-4.
 
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gettingthere

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This is very interesting, although for me extremely difficult reading. Whilst I can only imagine the horror of actually being restrained as a child, the basic gist of the dentist's attitude and the experiences described were so familiar to me I had to grip my chair very tightly whilst reading that. :hidesbehindsofa: Kudos to the dentist though for turning things around like that.

Something that I personally feel quite strongly about however, which is relevant to this thread is the attitude and approach taken by many parents and the influence this can have on creating dental phobia in a child. Obviously I know not all parents do this - and it is apparent that loads of people on this forum are going out of their way to avoid creating dental phobia in their kids :respect: however I know that when I was young, my mother greatly contributed to my fear before I even got in the chair for the first time. She would always refer to "the dreaded dentist" using a kind of "voice of doom" she reserved for that word only. I can also vividly recall her telling me on several occassions, "you have a dentist appointment, she'll probably hurt you and I can't do anything to help" or even "dentists are horrible but if she hurts you it's probably because you deserve it for not looking after your teeth". The thing is, I never had any invasive treatments done as a child becuase I did look after my teeth - worst thing I ever had was a couple of fissure sealants but beacuse of both my mother's forboding and the attititude of the evil dentist herself, I would scream, cry, struggle and have to be wrestled into the chair and held there by a nurse - not as bad as a papoose restraint but still... And then I just stopped going altogether for over a decade.

More recently, my brother-in-law and his partner took their kids (aged 4 & 2) to their first ever dentist appoitment. When this was first announced, the eldest asked "what's a dentist?" but over the few weeks leading up to the appointment and based on his father's response to this and descriptions of what might happen, the poor little boy went from blissful ignorance to complete terror and apparently when they did get there, refused to sit in the chair and cried all the way through.

Now I know evil dentists have a lot to answer for and in many (probably the majority of cases) have single handedly created phobias in child patients whilst the parents try to offer comfort - certainly in this example this seems to be the case - but I do think that many children already have a phobia or beginnings of a phobia instilled in them before they have had any experience with a "real live dentist" and this should not be forgotten. I don't know what the solution is but thought I should throw my experiences into the debate.
 
brit

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Now I know evil dentists have a lot to answer for and in many (probably the majority of cases) have single handedly created phobias in child patients whilst the parents try to offer comfort - certainly in this example this seems to be the case - but I do think that many children already have a phobia or beginnings of a phobia instilled in them before they have had any experience with a "real live dentist" and this should not be forgotten. I don't know what the solution is but thought I should throw my experiences into the debate.
It is commonplace advice to parents not to do this..it is called vicarious learning....I agree it does happen although your own Mother seems to have gone over the top...why would you deserve anything..pain involved or not?

It's not just parents though...it's how dentists are portrayed in the media...especially kids films (we have a thread on this) and cartoons such as 'Kids next door' and it's what kids say to each other at school....at least nowadays with painfree techniques and less decay around generally because of fluoride etc etc we as parents can choose our kids' dentist with great care and save them all the trauma of yesteryear.
Thanks for sharing..excellent point..your Mum's fear came from somewhere:devilish: too of course...
There's no need for a young child to know injections are involved in dentistry..this is the big mistake parents make as well (too much info) a good dentist will tell the child to look at something on the ceiling, bring it in under the child's line of sight and the child is told his tooth is being put to sleep..this is a bit deceptive BUT given that many kids are traumatised by vaccinations...it is wise to do this.
 
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gettingthere

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Thank you so much for your kind words. I don't wish to paint my mother as a monster at all but it is clear to me that some the the decisions she made were fairly misguided and have fully contributed to the problems I have with dental/medical situations now. You mention vaccinations - I had the same pattern of behaviour at the doctors surgery when I was young. I do remember on one occassion the doctor suggesting to mum that she hold my hand when I was freaking out about a blood test and mum relying that I shouldn't be mollycoddled and would have to learn to grow up and deal with it.

Anyway I realise I am getting off topic and these details should really be posted as a journal or in the support section. I think however that my phobia runs quite deep, to an extent that I cannot admit to having this problem (took my years to confide in my husband and none of my friends know) and although I have considered it, the prospect of actually writing out my issues and past experiences for all to see is terrifying, whilst the idea of responding to others with little snippets of information provides me with enough catharsis without the focus being on me if that makes any sense. Anyway I realise it's not the done thing and am sorry for hijacking.:oops:

Back to the original topic, this reminds me of a situation i had to look at a few years ago at a training course for work. We had to examine a business model of a dental practice in Australia - apparently it was a true story and the dentist wrote a well known book in corporate circles. The dentist in question was having trouble competing with other rival practices in the area when he first opened so eventually decided to look at fundamentally changing the "customers" experience of dentistry by remodelling the building, installing coffee machines and putting TVs on the ceiling. he also really looked at giving each client the personal touch during their appointment. At the time, my dental phobia was running so high that the whole study was a nightmare for me and I actually had to leave the room to be sick :sick: but this story did make me think of that dentist and I wonder if anyone else knows more about this particular situation. Always good to hear of nice dentists that try to pass on their expertise to others.
 
brit

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gettingthere;54102 Back to the original topic said:
business model of a dental practice in Australia - apparently it was a true story and the dentist wrote a well known book in corporate circles. [/B]The dentist in question was having trouble competing with other rival practices in the area when he first opened so eventually decided to look at fundamentally changing the "customers" experience of dentistry by remodelling the building, installing coffee machines and putting TVs on the ceiling. he also really looked at giving each client the personal touch during their appointment. At the time, my dental phobia was running so high that the whole study was a nightmare for me and I actually had to leave the room to be sick :sick: but this story did make me think of that dentist and I wonder if anyone else knows more about this particular situation. Always good to hear of nice dentists that try to pass on their expertise to others.
Do you mean Paddi Lund?
 
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gettingthere

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Could well be. You have to understand that this particular incident came at the time when I was trying to convince myself to find a dentist and it seemed that all around me people were discussing teeth, every advert was for toothpaste and every film had an evil dentist. The D word was everywhere so going into that seminar and finding out we had to discuss a dental practice I was :scared: and afraid I didn't take too much in...

Looking back on it now that I am (semi) recovered however, it seemed like an interesting story. The first post in this thread just reminded me of it.
 
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brewer734

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Hey
Oh god that story was so hard for me to read I was shaking by the time i'd finished it brought back horrific flashbacks !!!! However im glad I read it this dentist went about things so so wrong and at long last he realized his mistake if you think about it ( i cant feel sorry for him ) he will have to live with the memorys of those screaming children no one else but yes he is brave to admit his mistakes.
Letsconnect - Does it say anywhere in the book if he learnt this method of holding down crying children and ignoring their crys from someone else? Just wondered I dont understand how dentists train and wondered if he had been taught to do this by some other dentist or seen this done somewhere I just cant imagine how you suddenly think as someone in power over a child right if yr not going to co-operate i'll make you when normally you talk a child into things gently.
I wish the dentist who did the damage to me understood like this guy I want him to feel guilty very very guilty after coming on here I finally understand what he and this guy did was wrong and countless people are afraid of the dentist because of bad experiences like these. Interestingly though my devil dentist is very old and I wondered if this behaviour was just "acceptable" at the time my mum is so upset about it now she listened to him when he told her I was making a fuss for nothing and didnt feel a thing and I feel so bad cause she feels guilty for not listening to me. God I wish he felt guilt !!!!
Love and hugs
emma :grouphug:
 
brit

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Interestingly though my devil dentist is very old and I wondered if this behaviour was just "acceptable" at the time my mum is so upset about it now she listened to him when he told her I was making a fuss for nothing and didnt feel a thing and I feel so bad cause she feels guilty for not listening to me. God I wish he felt guilt !!!!
Love and hugs
emma :grouphug:
No I don't think patient restraint was ever acceptable practice in UK. He would not have been trained to hold you down and ignore your protestations of pain. You were very unlucky.
Whether a young child is properly numb is always an issue if they are too young to say definitively themselves and appear upset, hence why all but essential treatment should be avoided in the very young.
In the USA pediatric dentists seem to reach for sedation a lot sometimes coupled with restraint methods which are illegal in UK, but as Gordon says sedation doesn't actually work very well in kids....(so UK uses GA instead)prevention is better than cure...a trusting relationship built up with the same practitioner over time is the best way to get a child to accept their first proper painfree dental procedure. I'm speaking from my own experiences here, my kids' experiences and my friends' kids' experiences...it's not idle speculation.
 
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brewer734

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prevention is better than cure...a trusting relationship built up with the same practitioner over time is the best way to get a child to accept their first proper painfree dental procedure. I'm speaking from my own experiences here, my kids' experiences and my friends' kids' experiences...it's not idle speculation.
I totally agree Brit thats why two weeks on Monday my daughter is going to my new dentist she already met him through me going and said mummy can I show him my teeth I said of course she could she's actually looking forwards to it and I think if ever she needs treatment she will be fine with him. Im so glad ive got a good dentist who I can let my daughter build up a relationship with and avoid all my problems!!!
emma :))
 
letsconnect

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Letsconnect - Does it say anywhere in the book if he learnt this method of holding down crying children and ignoring their crys from someone else?
Yes, he described how this "method" was taught as a last-resort technique in dental school in the US. It's known as "Hand-Over-Mouth Exercise", apparently :sick:. He also says that this "technique" was used by 90% of practicing pediatric dentists in the US in 1980, whereas in 2003 the number had gone down to about 21%. He also mentions the reasons why some dentists use these "techniques":
(1) dentists are driven by task-completion and don't think they've their work properly unless they complete a treatment, even if it's not in the best interests of the child from a psychological perspective
(2) pressure from parents to "get the job done"
(3) dentists being trained to be too concerned with the risks of an infection spreading, and not properly considering alternatives
(4) the "exasperation factor" - some people (including dentists) aren't very good at dealing with children who try their patience and then resort to restraint as a quick-fix
(5) historical and cultural reasons - it used to be acceptable for teachers, principals, dentists etc. to take over the role of the disciplining parent (in some US states, corporal punishment in schools is still legal)
(6) financial reasons - dentists get paid for the work they actually do, rather than getting paid for their time

In the book, he refers to the situation in the US though, which is quite different from the UK, where physical restraint has been a no-no for donkey's years...

You'll be pleased to hear though that the dentist who wrote the book now makes sure that the children are in complete control at all times :).
 
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Im so glad i didn't live in the us in the 1980's!!! God thats horrific isn't it even as a last resort there must be loads of dental phobics in the us thanks to this method!!!! I dont blame them either. I know at the time this guy thought it was right and now I know he was taught this method I see why he did it ( obviously still makes me ill but if this was normally taught to dentists then I see why he thought at the time it was acceptable) but what makes it worse is when he mentions parents involvement. As a child one thing that scared me most about the dentist was when my mum would talk to the dentist and I didnt know what was going on she wouldn't tell me about it but would say I had an appointment in a couple of weeks she thought she was helping me by not telling me but it made me worse cause its like a conspiracy between the adults im the one having it done but they have decided and I don't have a choice and I dont even know what im having done till I get in the chair!! Even now im terrible if I think theres something a dr or dentist isn't telling me im permanantly bothered by this .My mum regrets this now but I never do this to my daughter I take the time to prepare her for these things.
anyway thanks for that letsconnect it was very interesting
emma
 
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lookforwardnotback

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Before anything else, Hello, I'm new here :) That said..

The things this particular Dentist wrote about above- is one of the primary reasons I have always been terrified of the dentist. As an artist, I've even painted images of this very 'procedure' to try to release it from my mind. His description was so dead on in fact, I actually looked up the author to see if it -was- my childhood dentist. I spent 8 years of my childhood in those so called 'restraints' - which I've always called straight jackets for children. Every time I would go to the dentist I would hear "Are you going to behave today? Or will I have to restrain you?"

The restraints were horrifying- to compound it all, I would be fitted with (please pardon by lack of dental instrument terms) what my dentist called "tents" - which were like metal spring mouth restraints that held my mouth as wide open as possible. You could bite down all you wanted and try to fight, but it didn't make a difference. It held my mouth open so much, that my jaw pops out of place on one side to this day.

The only way for me to describe this type of procedure is oral rape. Being strapped down, your mouth forced open, needles inserted and your baby teeth ripped out, violated against your consent, and humiliated- all with the parental seal of approval. Nevermind the hours spent afterward numb, sore, and emotionally scarred for life to which the loving parent that approved of your torture announces "You're fine honey, we'll get ice cream!"

Somehow, the crummy plastic toy from the treasure chest, and the tasteless soft serve ice cream you couldn't even enjoy, just didn't seem to make the experience worthwhile. :(

I wish the above dentist, and others like him, would understand- that the moment the child in those restraints gives up the fight and lies there staring head on into the lamps, feeling catatonic- that they haven't just destroyed a child's love and trust in dentistry- they have truly destroyed the child in that evolving human forever.
 
brit

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Before anything else, Hello, I'm new here :) That said..

The things this particular Dentist wrote about above- is one of the primary reasons I have always been terrified of the dentist. As an artist, I've even painted images of this very 'procedure' to try to release it from my mind. His description was so dead on in fact, I actually looked up the author to see if it -was- my childhood dentist. I spent 8 years of my childhood in those so called 'restraints' - which I've always called straight jackets for children. Every time I would go to the dentist I would hear "Are you going to behave today? Or will I have to restrain you?"

The restraints were horrifying- to compound it all, I would be fitted with (please pardon by lack of dental instrument terms) what my dentist called "tents" - which were like metal spring mouth restraints that held my mouth as wide open as possible. You could bite down all you wanted and try to fight, but it didn't make a difference. It held my mouth open so much, that my jaw pops out of place on one side to this day.

The only way for me to describe this type of procedure is oral rape. Being strapped down, your mouth forced open, needles inserted and your baby teeth ripped out, violated against your consent, and humiliated- all with the parental seal of approval. Nevermind the hours spent afterward numb, sore, and emotionally scarred for life to which the loving parent that approved of your torture announces "You're fine honey, we'll get ice cream!"

Somehow, the crummy plastic toy from the treasure chest, and the tasteless soft serve ice cream you couldn't even enjoy, just didn't seem to make the experience worthwhile. :(

I wish the above dentist, and others like him, would understand- that the moment the child in those restraints gives up the fight and lies there staring head on into the lamps, feeling catatonic- that they haven't just destroyed a child's love and trust in dentistry- they have truly destroyed the child in that evolving human forever.
Thanks for sharing :grouphug:. It may interest you to know that restraint in the form of the 'papoose board' is still an issue in certain medicaid clinics in the USA. Google it if you'd like to support those campaigning against this. Phobics are still being created I fear.

What you describe sounds very extreme indeed - especially the 'tents' thing how traumatic - happily in the UK dentists used to do a form of 'in chair' inhaled GA using a 'gas mask' and so never really got into the restraint stuff. Not that the inhalation GA was pleasant, it was not but I feel it involved rather less psychological damage than restraint would have done.
 
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lookforwardnotback

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Thanks Brit, It's awful to hear that they are still using this 'method' after all this time. I did some google searching like you suggested, and I'm honestly shocked at how many children are still being restrained and how many parents are thankful for it too.

The dentist I take my children too, told me that I could buy them a simple anti-anxiety sedative at the front desk before any procedures if they were afraid- luckily, they've all had positive experiences and no need for sedation thus far :)
 
carole

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Reading the dentists story made me wonder where was the compassion, I will never understand somebody restraining a child, when a child is screaming how are they expected to calm down if a stranger they only see a couple of times a year is allowed to be on their own with them and worst of all restrain them and I can just picture this dentist saying to the child in a menacing voice you will do what I want. It really does annoy me. I remember my little sister going to the dentist and she was a nightmare to get there, she was lied to about where we were going, and I remember one day, my mother, her large male friend, my brother and sister and I went to the dentist. My brother wasn't seeing the dentist that day, so I got in the chair and I just had a check up to show my screaming sister it is nothing to be afraid of, well I can't to this day stand someone screaming, it makes me panic, I got out of the chair and they tried to get my sister in, no way was she having any of it. Well they were all shouting at her including the dentist, she was screaming and I just stood there with my hands over my ears crying.
They got her, picked her up and in the chair, she went stiff as a board the way children do, and was fighting to get out screaming for my mum to help, it was awful. The dentist had hold of her arms and was shouting at her louder and louder calling her a naughty little girl, and she wouldn't like what was going to happen if she carried on mis-behaving. I couldn't stand it and I was frightened I would get into trouble but I started shouting for them to get off my sister and to let her go. Next thing she was out of the chair, she ran out of the dentist surgery and into the street where there was a busy road, she was only 5. My mums friend ran after her and so did I, he was running to get her back, I was running to stop her from running on the road. She ran a long way down the road and my mums friend got out of breath and gave up but I carried on and caught up with her. I got her to stop and hold my hand, I knew my way home so we walked along the back streets, making sure they didn't catch up with us and I took her to the local park for ages I thought it was until the dentist had closed because nobody was going to make my sister go back there again. To this day that memory is like it was yesterday, I had my own issues with dentists but because of the way they treated her I just cried silently without making any noise because that got them mad. So how can anybody threaten children at all and have to look at their frightened little faces and carry on with them in terror, it may have been the way but anybody with any decency couldn't do it, I don't care what the year it was. Unfortunately the majority of dentists then were butchers and they did fillings we didn't need and removed teeth that didn't need it either. I think the ones that did it enjoyed the power they had over people. Because a lot of parents just went along with it lying to their children. Actually writing this has just made me realise how bitter about the treatment we had as kids in the 60s I am. I knew I was mad but it goes beyond that I am very bitter.
 
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brit

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Actually writing this has just made me realise how bitter about the treatment we had as kids in the 60s I am. I new I was mad but it goes beyond that I am very bitter.
Carole
The trouble with this website is that it can force you to go back through your old dental experiences and often we dredge up some we had actually forgotten. I can relate to a lot of what you said as I was also a child of the 1960s but it is important not to get this totally 'out of perspective'.
Just as there are caring practitioners and uncaring ones now, the same was true then, despite the techniques not being as good and the LA not being as reliable.
Restraint was not a taught modality in the UK (whereas in USA it sadly still is) so any UK dentist using it was going against the grain which was to instead reach for the gas GA.

My 1960s childhood dentist was not the cause of my phobia despite the gas GA experiences (was only forced on me lightly the first time). I trusted him to do some small fillings at a very young age and he didn't hurt me. He was always friendly and never shouted. So imagine my surprise when at a much more modern practice in 1970s (we had moved house), I met a nasty non-UK trained individual who thought it was ok to drill teeth with no LA. Even he would not have restrained me though, I foolishly co-operated, so I really should have shouted the place down and would no doubt have been 'saved' by the principle dentist who I know believed in using LA for kids.

I had a friend who had good experiences with school dental service in 1960s with just local being used. It is easy to get a distorted picture...but understandable and your bitterness is entirely logical.
How is your sister now? She was lucky to have a sister who wanted to protect her like you did.

Whether all the fillings were needed? Not so sure. Fluoride toothpaste in mid-1970s seemed to put an end to my needing them.
 
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carole

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Thanks Brit, I hadn't forgotten about this incident and there were many more times with my sister, my sister is fine thank you, I think she deals with the dentist better than I do, I have never discussed her childhood visits with her. She is nearly 50 now and when she was 16 she went for a job at a bakery, a big factory type bakery, but because her teeth were black and broken and in a state they told her if she fixed her teeth she could have the job. Well she had all her teeth done, she has 6 crowns on her front teeth and I'm not sure what they did in the other teeth but she had a lot of work done. To bring it up to date she has just after all this time had to have one of her front crowns replaced and she didn't bother, she talks to me about going to the dentist as if it is nothing. So she has dealt with it all very well, I on the other hand feel like a right wimp sometimes. But I do have a very good dentist at the moment shortly due to leave, but I need a rct so I am concentrating getting that done with him before he goes.

I have over the years had some lovely dentists, had a few not so good, but on the whole I've managed to find a good one. I don't know why I still have this fear, but I do deal with it and cope with getting the treatment I need.

The dentist that did fillings etc... that I didn't need when I was a child, was wrong, years on from when I went he was struck off and kicked out of dentistry for wrong doing, in many ways, he was a sadistic person. Even dentists in the same area used to shake their heads when his name was mentioned, and they knew because they picked up the pieces of the people he had damaged.

I'm not bitter in that it will consume my every waking thought, but as you say sometimes things come into your head and the old feelings return, I am surprised how strong I actually felt over this still. I knew I was really mad when I was a child over it, looks like I have harboured ill feelings up until today. I think I may well have got it out of my system now, writing it down.

Dentist visit tomorrow so upward and onward.
 
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brit

brit

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Dentist visit tomorrow so upward and onward.
Tommorow will go fine ;). Of course you have the right to still be afraid. The reason maybe you now perceive your sister to cope better than you is maybe because she ran away while you endured and it sounds like (had dreadful experiences at the hands of someone who was struck off).
You need to bear in mind that most dentists do not get struck off and although many more may merit it than it actually happens to, most do not merit it.

Also witnessing someone else having such a bad time at the dentist is probably much more traumatic for you than for her. You may also resent your parents' role in this and again this is common and understandable.

A Diary thread of your past experiences may be very therapeutic for you. I definitely dredged up some I had forgotten from 1960s. I never forget the pivotal 1970s 'bad dentist day x2' though. I will always feel the need to protect myself from painful care.
 
J

Jaylah

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Wow, I don't remember ever actually being put in restraints, but I do have some far less than happy memories of sitting in a dentist's chair as a kid.

My childhood dentist never used those lovely cotton swabs with the topical anesthetic on them before heading into your mouth with "the needle." As a result, I still have a phobia about being numbed, even though it hasn't hurt since I stopped going to that dentist.

He also never had a "hold" sign. This was back in the days before dentists had those couch-type chairs where they can lay you back all the way. I can remember repeatedly sliding down in his chair (because what he was doing HURT), and just being told to sit up. I've also always had a particularly sensitive gag-reflex and I could sit in his chair gagging to the point of almost throwing up, and he'd just keep going.

As a result, whenever I visit a dentist now, I tend to think of them as being particularly nice. "Gosh, the nice man said if I needed a break, just to hold up my hand and he'd move away!" :D

Of course, I don't think my mother's reaction to my childhood dentist really helped anything. Even now, when I mention how much I used to hate going to Dr. Walters (he's long since dead, so I'm okay with "naming names), she'll tell me about how he was such a "good dentist." Maybe he was to her, since he knew she could "fight back" if she didn't like the treatment she was getting. But I'm sure my avoidance of dentistry can all be traced back to those traumatic times in Dr. Walters' chair.
 
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