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Smiles Better

S

Surreyvwphobic

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In dental heaven
Hello to all on this wonderful website. Firstly I would like to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart who wrote and have clearly supported me and enabled me to get to this stage. You are all wonderful!! :-*

As promised, now follows the story so far and will continue to update as things progress.......
After many months of agonising and procrastination I finally decided to go with a practice in Kings Lynn (UK) called "Smiles Better" (website is www.smilesbetter.co.uk). I chose them initially out of a two horse race as A) They were near to public transport so easy to get to and B) They had a more laid back "feel" about them and was especially impressed on how they have tried to be as "undentist"-like in outward appearance; all clinical staff wear black tunics which make them look like masseurs and the front entrance and reception could be likened to that of a hairdressing salon.

The dentist I saw there was a very charming and attractive lady of Lebanese (I think) origin named Sameera Teli. She had a very nice sounding voice and seemed genuinely supportive of my fears and understanding of the past trauma I have been carrying for so many years.

She carried out a very thorough exam with x rays and a little prodding around ascertaining gum health. The good news is that nothing terrible has been flagged up, but Sam wants to investigate further my gum health at our next meeting which has already been booked for mid March. Although a little apprehensive at what I might be facing, I feel much happier about it following a successful first meet and feel at least confident enough that I am not going to be put through oral torture this time!

My only complaint if any was that I was left to fester whist waiting for that first appointment to happen; I suspect that this otherwise superb practice is not really quite geared up for coping with extreme phobia at the entrance stage; I am going to write to them about this with suggestions on improving this vital first experience for those who follow me. Furthermore, I slightly worry that getting appointments quickly could be difficult, as I had to wait a month for this next one whereas I would have liked to have proceeded much sooner

That aside, life goes on just trying to cope with this dreadful dark cold winter! Watch this space... Simon XX:cool:
 
S

Surreyvwphobic

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Joined
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Well, the second appointment came and went yesterday (Wednesday 21st March 2018) and was a huge success all things considered.

I had the much feared gum "charting" which turned out to be relatively painless; only a couple of little twinges to report there. Amazingly, despite the slightly pessimistic diagnosis from the chap I had seen in November, I had no gum disease after all! Just a couple of puffy areas which were swiftly dealt with. Also amazing for the first time ever, my dental health had actually improved markedly and I was praised for my efforts and the dentist readily conceded that I had done the best that was possible with my difficult mouth.

After the "charting" we then did a thorough deep clean of my whole upper jaw and apart from a couple of twinges, again was relatively pain free and I did not even feel much of it! I was even starting at one point to even enjoy being in the four hands of two lovely young ladies, especially the polishing stage which made me feel like a rock star! The only downside was the terrific noise made by the sonic cleaner - next time I might wear my special ear plugs to lower the noise level or as others have, use my MP3 player. What was nice though in the charting, the radio was on playing nice classical music in the background, so making for quite a decent atmosphere and overall experience. The dentist was speaking words of gentle encouragement during the scaling, but did not hear all of it sadly due to the aforementioned machine noise. Their soft eyes gazing down were nice though, and a lovely touch was that I could see both their faces throughout, as they wear these clear shields which mean that a traditional white mask is not needed and all facial elements clearly visible.

I am booked in for late April to have the lower teeth deep cleaned in simular fashion, and will write again to let everybody on here know how that went. I felt very emotional on the journey home; this was a huge step and achievement for me after so many years of dental distress, and the only side effects other than that being some soft aching around the back teeth and jaw joints following prolonged openings (though frequent breaks were given). I am having a massage today (Thursday) to settle things back down and put me back in a better space. My heartfelt thanks once again to all on here that enabled me to reach this stage. Love Simon ;)
 
S

Surreyvwphobic

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As promised, yesterday (Thursday 22nd March) I treated myself to a lovely massage with a delightful local caribbean lady who nursed me to death; following some gentle massage to my head, most of the dental aches have gone and I feel much restored and ready to move forward. I had a lovely deep sleep last night following all this pampering and look forward to friends arriving today! Will post the next chapter in late April after my next dental session. Love to all, Simon :cool: XX
 
S

Surreyvwphobic

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Messages
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Well, the third and final appointment of my transformation came and went yesterday (Wednesday 25th April 2018 AD), and like the previous session, was a resounding success, and as I have briefly mentioned elsewhere, marked the end of a 47 year horror story.

This session was the second part of a round of deep cleaning; last time, as you have read, I had the upper half of my mouth cleaned following some gum charting. This time, it was the turn of the lower half to get some serious pampering. All went extremely well, and there was virtually no discomfort at all. In fact it was almost enjoyable! This is due testament to the highest professionalism of my dentist, who clearly understood my difficulties and made sure that my comfort and well being was always paramount. The only pain I have now (Thursday morning) is one back tooth where the gum was very thoroughly cleaned out, and I suspect some long existing infection had been languishing for some time, possibly even years. Surprisingly though, it did not hurt during the procedure! Also strange was that one tooth gap that had been really hurting me at home was also pain free during the cleaning (I did stop and tell the dentist this, which both amazed and pleased her).

Cleaning done, (all by ultrasonic water, hence no discomfort) it was then on to my favourite bit, the polishing. Shame it was so quick, as it is really quite relaxing and so indulgent; one feels like a rock star! Bless her heart, the dentist happily did my tops again as well, so that I had a nice even appearance all over ready for a forthcoming cruise. Oh, and I forgot to mention the heated massaging chair I was laid on, gazing up at four very pretty eyes.........

So, we are now on routine care for the first time in a lifetime. I hope my dentist can continue to do this, otherwise its another heartfelt search for a loving hygienist who can continue this good work. I have been praised for my efforts (again for the first time ever!) which have shown huge improvements to my gum health, such that I have reached optimum health and now only need to maintain with the professional support as and when needed. I am recommended for another clean in around three months.

A little more on the practice itself now to help others who may follow; this place is based in central Kings Lynn Norfolk England UK, and is a very short walk from the railway station, so ideal for those who do not drive. There is car parking nearby in a supermarket, with a couple of hours time limit or buy something in there to cover it. The entrance is level and wide, so fine for wheelchair users and the reception area has a very nice feel about it, with no nasty dental things around to potentially scare people off. Others should take note on this.

My only gripes with this place are: the suggested waiting area is actually not very phobic friendly, as the otherwise very comfortable sofa provided is right next to a surgery door, where whizzing tools can be heard; also, it faces such that most of the surgeries are behind you, so one is nervously looking behind for the summons! (There are forward facing chairs as well in this area). I would also like to warn anybody who suffers from claustrophobia that most of the surgeries are in "inside" rooms with no window and view out, so unless you are able to get in the one room at the front where there is a large window looking out onto the street where you came in (and a very large room too, with lots of good equipment including a screen for films, which my room did not have), this place sadly might not be suitable.

I simply resolved to stay in the reception area until collected which was fine, and there were drinks on offer as well as the usual magazines.

The final gripe although this is also a testament and proof of how good and popular this place clearly is, is that getting appointments quickly is almost impossible unless one is prepared to see somebody unfamiliar, although it seems that the high levels of care are probably proffered by anybody one went with, so for emergencies probably worth the gamble.

My heartfelt thanks once again to all on this site who got me to this stage, and my screen is always open to anybody who wants some support or inspiration. Love to all. Simon XX:cool:
 
Dg6300

Dg6300

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Outstanding. Well done. You are a real inspiration.
 
S

Surreyvwphobic

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Joined
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Messages
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In dental heaven
So, appointment 4 passed today (Wednesday 25th July 2018 AD) with little incident; my biggest worry was in fact actually getting there we (in the UK) have had a terrible few weeks with railway management meltdown and resulting chaos such that travel by train in this country has become but a gamble. Today however, both trains ran to the second! The air conditioning on our new trains was very welcome indeed in this heat.
Anyway, I digress. The appointment itself was a huge success and mostly very pleasurable after years of torture and agony; today, bar a couple of twitchy teeth, it was all pain free and surprisingly relaxing; four lovely eyes to stare at, the nurse holding my side at times, and a very comfortable chair to lie on in air conditioned comfort. I have been having issues with one annoying back tooth; we decided to take a closer x ray of this in case anything should show up; fortunately all was clear. We think it is just the fallout of my 1994 osteotomy which I can manage with sacral cranial head massage and occasional pain relief as and when needed and perhaps leaving that one tooth alone to rest for a day or two if it gets awkward. There was enough time in the end to complete an entire clean complete with the beloved polishing, even with comfort breaks given a few times. This lady is so good that I did not even have to ask for breaks; she just knows intuitively when I am needing a pause! I did have a small issue with the back of one of my front teeth (again a victim of the 1994 osteotomy, a screw is very near to it), so she had to come back to that at the end of the cleaning with a hand tool, which was mostly pain free and effortless - something I could have not have got even near a few months ago! We talked fondly about this and the amazing progress made afterwards before we parted company and I came home for a well earned drink on the waterfront with my partner to celebrate and also numb the dull ache that remains temporarily (normal after any invasive dental work). Most of this has already faded as I write this some 8 hours after the treatment finished.
I have decided and have already booked up to have the 6 month review for September; after that I will probably look to try and switch to the local practice I have since discovered, as they are walking distance from our front door and they do now offer sedation and other many advanced facilities that were not on offer to me when I first considered them a couple of years ago.
It is fair to say that "Smiles Better" has transformed my medical life; I could not have dreamt of achieving such impossibilities without the loving support and tender expertise from Sameera and Annabel. I reiterate to anyone who reads this that finding the right personality with the right knowledge to your specific problems is the simple key to unlocking the phobia door and finding freedom. Good luck to all that follow us. Love Simon
 
Dg6300

Dg6300

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Bravo!

Such courage.

You have earned this, my friend. Enjoy it.

What a great example to us all.
 
S

Surreyvwphobic

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Joined
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Messages
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Hello to all again. I am now writing the last post on this thread as I have now successfully migrated to a local practice for future care. Yesterday (Thursday 16th August 2018 AD) was a momentous day for me and a lot of very special people around me; as some of you may have read elsewhere on this site, I had the misfortune to snap an interdental brush in between my rearmost molar and it's neighbour. This happened on the night of Friday 3rd August, so some two weeks ago! The following morning, as I have again mentioned elsewhere, I managed to see a local NHS (this is in UK) dentist, who had a look and managed to get something out with no charge. We thought this was the end of the matter. On this dentist's advice, I duly booked up the earliest appointment I could get with a private local dentist, the aim simply being to get the first review and check that all was well following the injury. I will tell about this on my new thread that will follow this titled "Enhanced Dentistry". Basically all was in fact not well at all, and the offending article could not be removed at that appointment, as the clock beat us and there were dozens of (understandably) disgruntled customers waiting to be seen. I booked a followup appointment but this would not be for another two weeks!

So, having failed a few other possible avenues to seek rapid help, I found myself back at my current practice yesterday (Thursday 16th August 2018 AD), "Smiles Better" in Kings Lynn (UK). I was indeed very fortunate, as unusually the lady I had been seeing actually had a spare slot and so I was able to see somebody I already knew intimately and trusted implicitly.

After all the trauma and past phobia I had endured, anybody could marvel at the miracle that happened when I got there. Sam had a brief look and a gentle prod and quickly ascertained that getting this bloody thing out was going to take some time and would need anaesthesia so that she could help me in comfort.

Of course, this was the one thing as most people on here would concur that I dreaded, and the last element of phobia I had not faced and overcome. However, I can honestly say the overall experience was not unduly unpleasant! This time, I had a different nurse in with me; her name is Emma and she was absolutely LOVELY! She held my hand and stroked my shoulder the whole time with soft words of encouragement as the local was given, and even Sam (with her spare hand) joined in! As everybody says after the event, it really was not too bad; I was initially given a numbing gel on the gum which was left for about a minute or so to take effect and then the main shot was inserted. Other than the slightest "peek" it was largely pain free; it did take quite a while to introduce the whole dose, but by then the first half had calmed the area such that introducing the remainder and hence withdrawal were hardly felt. A very professional and caring job done, and the worst fear overcome by stealth! In fact, after so much pain and discomfort for nearly a fortnight, it just felt so nice to be free of pain for a change, and so within some 90 seconds (yes, really!!) that whole tooth area was happily asleep and I was then quite relaxed after that, knowing that indeed nothing would hurt from then on. Whilst the drugs took effect, Sam very sensibly used this time productively to take another x ray of the area which clearly showed the problem (and I got to see it on the screen with her - amazing!!). This also gave me the space to chill out for a few minutes after braving the anaesthesia procedure.

What followed was I would describe as the dental equivalent of open heart surgery; as this wretched brush had got so embedded, we ended up having to gently pull the gum away from the back tooth, which then allowed for explorers, ultrasonics and narrow suction to enter and after about 25 minutes or so, finally removing said evil article (ironically with her fingers after an explorer I believe suddenly flicked it free). Sam showed it immediately to prove that at last it was all over! To finish off, my beleaguered tooth was treated to a very thorough wash out with the ultrasonic, and the gum then gently laid back where it belonged. About a third of the way through the time, I was aware of some sensation on one area of the gum, so Sam immediately gave another shot, this time from a wand; again both she and Emma making a lovely fuss of me as this was given. I felt absolutely nothing after that, and again actually started enjoying the attention that my poor mouth had been denied for so many years! If only dentistry had been this pleasant 30 years ago when I needed it most.

When all over, it was hugs all round and I gave Sameera a card with a little gift inside, which I will hope will buy her a little something or a round of drinks, as she is so special and she has transformed my life forever!

Never in my whole life have I seen and felt so much love in a dental practice; in my opinion, "Smiles Better" is the first place ever where I have experienced dentistry at a higher spiritual level. These ladies are my guardian angels, and will be cherished forever for their kindness and outstanding professionalism. After I had left, the next amazing surprise was the rapid recovery time; barely an hour after starting, I could taste fully, pain was minimal and no lingering tingly tongues for hours on end like it was in the eighties! What an incredible experience. I cried a lot well into late last night, as not only had I sorted out the emergency that was pressing, but I had also finally defeated phobia and more importantly destroyed the remaining ghosts of my teenage years once and for all. I did not realise just how much this had affected me until I got the right support and from the most unlikely of places and situations. To top this all off? Only £47 for all this attention! What a bargain in today's normally overpriced ripoff world. I am remaining on their books as a "dormant customer" so that I have an additional option to call upon in the future, should I face another emergency or my new practice for any reason feel unable to help a given situation.

In closing, a little update about the practice following earlier comments; after my comments on here which had been read, and others simularly commenting, the waiting area has now been reconfigured such that all seating, including that lovely comfy sofa (which I was very grateful for, both before and after) is now all in the front reception area where you enter, so no nasty noises and plenty of natural light and of course the added hidden advantage of being near reception staff, who will help and support as needed. For anyone who read this living in the county of Norfolk (UK), I urge anyone in dental crisis to approach this practice; I can say with authority that they WILL help you and they WILL care for you as a person and not just another naughty dirty set of teeth. Happy to answer any questions and elaborate on anything above to anyone who asks.

From dental heaven with love, Simon XX ;)
 
S

Surreyvwphobic

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Messages
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Hello folks. An unexpected additional quick line onto this journal, just to report that sadly, after giving me such amazing care, support and indeed changing my life, my lovely dentist (Sameera) at this practice is moving on to start a family and has decided not to return to this practice after her maternity leave, although she will be continuing to practice elsewhere in the region for a couple of days a week after recovering from the birth(s). It goes without saying that we all wish her and her new family every happiness and success in the coming years ahead, and she will be very much missed and always loved and respected by all who know her.
I plan to keep this practice in hand as a backup in case of problems at "Enhance" but as yet have no idea of who I will choose to take over as yet. Will write on this thread further with any future developments to this effect.

From dental heaven with love. Simon XX
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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awww. Simon, that is so sad to hear, she has really given us all great hope here in your writings and experiences from dental Heaven.. All the blessings to her. I hope there will be a kind and gentle dentist to take her place or you can find your way back to whererver wshe is. She certainly has made a huge difference!! Wishing you the best as well as your dental practice!!
 
S

Surreyvwphobic

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Joined
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Messages
214
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In dental heaven
awww. Simon, that is so sad to hear, she has really given us all great hope here in your writings and experiences from dental Heaven.. All the blessings to her. I hope there will be a kind and gentle dentist to take her place or you can find your way back to whererver wshe is. She certainly has made a huge difference!! Wishing you the best as well as your dental practice!!
Bless you for your lovely words; yes she was an inspiration to the industry (and will continue to be of course on her return elsewhere). I may well find myself yet going back to that practice as I am getting suspicious that my new practice is not going to give me the time and space I need long term. That would be such a shame, as they have up to now been so good. All I can do at this stage is hope and pray that my next session (which will be back with my dentist) will be better spaced with more care in place, as I had enjoyed in the previous sessions. Obviously will let everyone know what happens. At least I have plenty of other options out there to call upon in worst case scenario, with more experience to draw on..........

Love Simon XX
 
S

Surreyvwphobic

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Thanks to all for your ongoing support and encouragement. This post is spontaneous and perhaps a bit "off piste" being somewhat unrelated to this current journal, but having been reading several other journals on here from others who have suffered past experiences with flashbacks etc and how their dentists often went the extra mile to help them, this seems appropriate to add this here, as it is relavent to my current situation.

In more recent times, I have written about how a lovely male dentist in Reading Berkshire looked after me with huge compassion back in 2009 or thereabouts, and that I still miss having him as a viable option, as he is just too far away from where I currently live to continue with him.

What I have never mentioned since my time on here was the unexpected success that I did have back in 1984, even though this was the worst time of my life and I was battling abuse both at school and at the hands of both that awful orthodontist (thankfully now dead) and a local hygienist who was simply dreadful, and the cause of my continuing (if lesser) anxiety to this day.

That year, as I was embarking on a gruelling round of orthodontics, I needed to have all four back molars filled to make them strong enough to hold and withstand the ring mountings of the expansion appliance that was to be fitted. Understandably, I was terrified, but on my mothers advice, I saw the local dentist that my mother used at that time. He was absolutely wonderful; so kind, reassuring and gentle with everything that he did, such that the four fillings were a breeze with him, and I still have them to this day! A year or so later, during the orthodontics, I had the misfortune for a wire on the brace to snap. I went to my dentist in tears, fearing what my orthodontist might have done, and he took me straight in to his surgery with his arm round me and repaired it in moments with no fuss! I will never forget the kindness of this person, who is amazingly still practicing though in a different area and unusually with a new identity; I found out that "he" became "she" several years ago, but that otherwise same person is still much loved and respected in the business.

What was additionally so special about this man was the fact that he, too, had experienced abuse with his dentist when he was a child, and he told me his heartwarming story about his wish to become a kind and caring dentist when he grew up. I and so many others are so delighted and grateful that he did! Experience like this is so priceless, and I would urge anyone out there to follow his example, and any dentists and hygienists to equally learn from his example. I actually considered the profession for a while, but not being comfortable around children has effectively excluded this option for me, as obviously I can not pick and choose who I would treat!

I am writing this to try and find solace following my recent setback, where I feel that the lady I saw although very professional and highly competent, was not so aware of what past fears can do to people; although I have indeed made huge strides in the last year, I am not fully confident, and the old horses do rear their ugly heads still on occasions. I feel that more dentists need to become more aware of the "hidden" issues and difficulties that patients carry, which often go far beyond the basic dental care in the first instance, and more time needs setting aside to provide for these instances.

Love peace and kindred spirits to you all. Simon XX
 
Dg6300

Dg6300

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A lovely story. Thank you for sharing, Simon.
 
S

Surreyvwphobic

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Messages
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Another quickie to add to this journal following a conversation I have been taking part in on the subject "what makes a good dentist"; I mention on there that use of the familiar "show tell do" technique is a very useful tool for both dentists and patients alike. I omitted to mention that I benefitted from this in my second session with Sameera at "Smiles Better" in Kings Lynn (UK). I was, among a first round of deep cleaning, having a dental "charting" which involves gently touching the gum to ascertain health. In this instance, Sameera demonstrated on the back of my hand what the tool felt like, then showed it to me; after that, I underwent the short procedure in a matter of moments with virtually no fear nor discomfort. A shining example of how to do something sinister well! A good lesson learnt for other professionals who may read this. When I was small, my first hygienist did in fact use this technique with me and, along with her kindness, made that procedure at the time much less stressful than it might have been!

Carrying on with this story, having lost my lovely Sameera to parenthood, I now have the job of choosing her replacement, and will probably get this new person to do an interim clean as a way of testing them out as well as meeting them initially. Will detail this as and when such events happen, which I estimate to be as far ahead as November (2019 AD) which will be in between my upcoming review at "Enhance" in August and the next one which would be February 2020AD.

Watch this space for the latest here; my next spiel from "Enhance" follows soon in my other thread, "Enhanced Dentistry"

From dental heaven with love. Simon XX
 
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