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Specific fear and I need help please, in Cheltenham.



Junior member
Apr 30, 2012
Hello all

I am new to this site and would greatly appreciate some help.

I am 37 years old and haven't been to the dentist in 17 years. I have two teeth that will undoubtedly require work as well as a general check up and clean. My problem is this;

I have suffered with ulcerative colitis and iritable bowel syndrome for many years, however I have this mostly undet control now with the use of specific drugs. There are a few situations though which cause me great anxiety, the most obvious is that of being trapped, unable to make a sociably acceptable exit. If this happens i experience a feeling that can only be described as a panic attack.

To be clear I am not affraid of pain, drills, sensations in my mouth etc. this has meant that I have avoided the dentist and does make me very unhappy. I live in cheltenham in Gloucestershire and I was wondering if anybody else has similar worries or would know of a good sympathetic dentist nearby?

thankyou so much for your time in reading this, any words of help would be great.

Kind regards, Rob.
I REALLY understand where you are coming from on this, this is a part taken from a post I made this morning in another thread. I am also not afraid of dental work in general, pain or noises....I have got one other specific fear of Local Anaeasthetics, not the actual injection but the medicine though.

Also, I have figured that the local anaesthetics are not my only thing that causes me panic attacks, actually the last twice I've had panic attacks it is because I wanted to escape and get away and feel that I can't and am trapped.

So, what to do that helps ? In previous months I have had two panic attacks in the chair during long appointments, well I think they are long as they were each 1 hour 20 mins. I found that my dentist knowing that I can get panic attacks really helped, on both occasions I told him I was starting to panic and he stopped and took off the dental dam I had on at the time.

He knows that he needs to stop as quickly and as (safetly) possible and let me sit up or stand up. Apparently some people even like to stand up and walk around a bit. Once I knew that a) he understood and b) I 'could' get away quickly and easily if I wanted to, the feelings became far more manageable and my panic subsided incredibly quickly; within a couple of minutes. It is quite liberating having your dentist know that you may panic, as you don't spend time suffering and trying to control yourself (trying to be 'socially acceptable')...and letting the panic spiral even further as your adrenaline takes silent effect.

He also gave me a little space after stopping the work he was doing. As I was taking this 'panic break' he didn't hassle me and instead got on with a few minutes of computer notes, until I was ready to continue. This helped me feel as if I was in control, and instead of him 'trapping' me, I was letting him continue with the necessary work. Mentally, I therefore knew/know, that I always have the option of leaving if I want to. As it happens, I never have left !!!!! This was an anxiety problem I had more generally going back 20 years, I would need to sit near doors in school halls and anywhere I went I always had to know how quickly I could get away if I needed to. It only affects me nowadays at the dentist, fortunately, but using the methods above I find it fairly manageable.

There are lots of other pieces of advice on here if you read on the 'fears' part of the site, and some relates to panic attacks and feeling trapped.

I hope this helps a bit, and hopefully someone else will come along to advise on how to find a dentist in Cheltenham. Apologies for the inconsistent uses of tenses throughout this post ;)
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Hello Carys,

Thankyou for taking the time to read and respond so well to my post. It means such a lot just to know that I'm not the only one with this kind of fear and makes dealing with it seem more achieveable.

I know that I will need to have a conversation with the dentist and make him or her aware of my concerns. It may
sound silly but I almost wish there wasn't an assistant in the room too as this seems to double my concern in my head.

I have found that with my condition it is a case of the head ruling the body - ie knowing that I can get up and walk away makes it far more tolerable to actualy stay. As an aside the othere place I find it difficult to manage is when I'm in a car with another person / people, fine when I'm on my own but panic with others for fear of not being able to beat a hasty retreat.

Thanks once again for your kind time

It may
sound silly but I almost wish there wasn't an assistant in the room too as this seems to double my concern in my head.

That doesn't sound at all silly, that is an issue that has come up many times here before. I don't think there is any problem with requesting that you speak to the dentist privately about some personal matters, as you say it is MUCH harder to express yourself when there is another person sitting and listening. I think dentists have said on here before that they would be happy to speak on a 1-to-1 with people. Once you find a dental surgery that you are confident to approach you could email them ask if you could just have a private discussion/consultation with the dentist. Surely it is no different to having a private discussion with your GP ?
Hi Rob :welcome:,

we've had a recommendation for James Critchley in Cheltenham: https://www.dentalfearcentral.org/forum/threads/cheltenham-gloucestershire.3346/

You could email this and other dentists (personal recommendations are usually the best the way of finding a kind and caring dentist) with your concerns, and ask them how they can help you. Or if you have specific ideas yourself as to what would help you, outline them and ask if they'd be happy to work with you :).

There are some tips on this page which may also help:

We've also got a page on panic attacks which you may or may not find useful depending on the nature of your fears:

Though I really liked Carys' suggestion/story and shall be asking her if we can add that to the page :)!

Best of luck with your search :thumbsup:!!
Thankyou for your reply letsconnect.

I am somewhat pleased with myself today. Firstly I made the decision to search out this site, secondly I have taken the bull by the horns and have sent an email to the dentist that you linked to from a recomendation. I looked up their website and found that they had a specific section about nervous patients, which made me feel that they are at least giving consideration to people lke us.

Thankyou once again

Kind regards, Rob
Also worth mentioning I have read through this websites section about panic attacks - very useful !
Hi Rob

I went to 2 dentists when someone told me about the dentist I am with now - the mere thought of having a 3rd opinion was - well, I can't put it into words. However...... I did, and found a wonderful dentist who is kind, caring and passionate about his work. He also has an assistant who is fabulous too. They will be looking after me, and that is exactly what it will be, looking after me. It isn't easy for anyone with a phobia - and boy am I learning quick about this, but if you go with the recommendation, you will know for yourself if you are happy with who you have chosen.

I wish you well for your journey.

Well to update, I have chatted with a fantastic dentist who was so sympathetic to my fears. I am meeting him on Thursday with the offer of sedation for any work carried out. I feel so happy about this - thankyou one and all.
Well when you decide to do something you don't hang around, do you. WELL DONE :jump::jump::jump: what a lovely result, and to have been able to speak to the dentist before you go, is really very good.

I wish you GOOD LUCK for Thursday, although I don't think you will need it, you seem to have made your own. Let us know how you go on. :)
Wow that was quick ;D - I think you might have set a new record here???

All the best for Thursday :thumbsup:!!
Great news !!! let us know how you get on.