As a child I wasn’t a huge fan of the dentist but I went along gritted my teeth and braved it. One day, however, things went wrong. I needed a filling. Unfortunately what should have been a routine procedure turned out to be a truly traumatic experience. An apprehension about going to the dentist turned into an extreme phobia. From that day on I no longer trusted the dentist, I feared the personnel, the procedures, even the building. That was 14 years ago.
Since that day I tried various dental practices and relaxation therapies but never made any meaningful progress. I was referred to a clinical psychologist for help and even undertook a course of hypnotherapy. The best treatments in the world however won’t work unless you trust the dentist and the treatment.
August 2010 my husband and I booked appointments for a New Patient Examination with Dr Neeraj Puri. When you have a phobia it’s not just you that’s affected, it affects your whole family. My husband went first so that I could watch. Even though it was not my appointment Neeraj immediately identified my fear and very kindly took the time to explain everything he was doing and answer all my questions. 24 hours later it was my examination. Thanks to Neeraj’s patience, understanding and caring temperament I was able to cope with the appointment. When he explained that I really need 2 fillings (including that same on from 14 years ago) he took the time to explain all the options available to me stressing that he’d only do what I was comfortable with.
12 days later it was time to face the cavity which turned my life upside down 14 years ago. 23 August I arrived at the practice terrified. I hadn’t had a proper night’s sleep, I hadn’t eaten anything in case I was sick, and as I sat waiting the tears began to well up as I recalled how I felt all those years ago. I told my husband I don’t think I can do this.
Within 10 minutes I was in the dreaded dentist chair, shaking from head to toe with nerves – scared of the unknown, scared of the pain I was sure was to come. Neeraj wasn’t fazed. He was confident, yet patient, sympathetic and kind. For the first time I felt I could actually trust a dentist; for the first time I felt like “we” were actually going to get through this as a team.
The laser was amazing. Neeraj had set aside an hour for this one filling. Before he started, he showed me the laser on my hand, tested it on one of my front teeth and put it on my tooth for 10 seconds so that I could get a preview of what was to come. I was told that I could put my hand up to stop things when I needed it. The appointment took almost the full hour but I was able to cope and even started to relax a bit as time went on. The entire process was entirely pain free and once it was over I felt in shock rather than immediate joy. It took at least an hour and numerous checks in the mirror for the reality to sink in – someone with as bad a history as myself had actually managed to get this cavity treated after 14 years.
No pain, no local anaesthetic or sedation, and essentially a dentist you can truly trust are great weapons in helping others like me feel less anxiety about going to the dentist. I have no doubt that I am not ‘cured’ of my phobia (reality is that I am unlikely to every be completely at ease) but I am now optimistic at the future, that together, working as a team, we can now develop effective coping strategies to reduce my anxieties.
I have always felt self conscious of my twisted front teeth. However, I always convinced myself that it was acceptable, thinking that it was part of my character. Unfortunately, when the front tooth broke due to years of stress and possibly not such good dentistry in the past, I was forced to face my fears and actually address the situation. Part of me was excited that I now had an opportunity to perhaps improve on my smile. However, I was also very worried about whether the person treating it would have the skill to help me realise my dream. I did not want the Hollywood plastic smile that you see everywhere, nowadays. Also, I had seen lots of fake looking crowns. Crowns that appeared too plastic with grey lines around the gum. I am a bit of a perfectionist and I know what I want.
I knew of Neeraj many years ago when I used to work as a receptionist at a dental practice. I remember patients and staff that he worked with used to give very positive feedback for him. So I thought why not.
Neeraj was very empathetic and supportive when I discussed my dental problems. I felt unrushed and able to look at a full range options available. I needed some time to make a decision so he pull out all the stops with his lab to allow me to have a temporary bridge whilst I pondered over my options and finances. I even had the opportunity to visit the lab to discuss my cosmetic requirements.
I had some broken teeth in the back which had decay. I was aware of this but since they had not been too sore unless I drank hot drinks I had not addressed the problems. Neeraj recommended that we should fix these so things did not get any worse. This was my first experience of the Waterlase. Whilst Neeraj had told me about this amazing machine it was hard to believe. After experiencing a lifetime of discomfort and apprehension when visiting the dentist it was hard to believe this was not going to be just another gimmick.
The first thing that I noticed was that there was no whiny noise of the drill; no sensation of touch or your head vibrating. All the horrible sensations that you hate at the dentist. Instead it was like someone was spraying your teeth with a gentle stream of water. No jag!! I waited for Neeraj to start cutting the decay and bracing myself for the inevitable vibration and sensitivity. I was surprised to be told that he had already done all this and was about to start fixing my tooth. Apparently the laser energy makes your teeth drowsy so you don’t feel anything during the treatment. You also don’t have to suffer the annoying numb feeling afterwards. Why couldn’t someone have come up with this before?
Since that initial wonderful experience I have had the front teeth fixed to give me the beautiful natural smile that I’ve always wanted. Again Neeraj used the laser when he did the implant surgery to cut the gum. He told me that the benefit was that the skin does not bleed unlike when a scalpel is used. Less surgery had to be performed leading to faster healing and much less pain. My experience was that treatment was very comfortable and the healing was fine. Having spoken to other people who have had implant treatment this is not always the case.
I am so thrilled with my care that I am now planning to have some more missing teeth replaced by implants.
As a parent I am happy in the knowledge that if my five year old ever has to have any dentistry he will not have to suffer the anguish and discomfort that my generation has been accustomed to.
As a woman I am glad that I have a nice smile allowing me to feel confident and attractive about myself. The dentistry has given me the impetus to tone up and completely change my wardrobe.
Thank you to Neeraj Puri and his wonderful team for sharing this journey with me.
It’s been three weeks since my last visit and there have been no problems. Indeed I no longer need to use fixative. Everyone has noticed the improvement in my appearance.
Thank you so much not just for your professionalism but for taking the time to explain the procedure throughout.
My colleagues yesterday were really amazed to see me absolutely pain-free, it was such a contrast between me in agonising pain and in a few hours-me as fit as a fiddle. Of course I’ve told them about you quite a lot, but yesterday I was live proof of how wonderful you are and a vivid, striking advertisement for your practice. I really want all the people to know about you and your team. Thank you so much for putting aside all the appointments and taking care of me yesterday! I do appreciate it and it is needless to say that you and the team are all my friends and I know I can always rely on you.
I’m very pleased with IDC. The staff are superb, decor and furnishing fab!
I have never had such a thorough, gentle and professional smile make-over! Neeraj is superb!
In my experience having quite a few years experience everyone here is always kind and caring. I am always satisfied with the treatment and don’t dread a visit to ‘the Dentist’ any more.
From the start of my treatment everything was carefully planned and explained and I was reassured all the time. Neeraj has a wonderful ‘bedside manner’ and is very ably assisted by Gemma. Even paying the bills to Lucy and Jean seems almost painless! With my new teeth I feel much more confident.
I cannot thank Neeraj enough for the support and hard work he has given me over the past few years. He turned a nightmare into a dream for me! I can now enjoy eating, socialising and have my confidence back to enjoy life. Manor place has such a wonderful atmosphere. It is one big caring family. There is always a welcoming smile from Jean, Lucy and Gemma.
I am absolutely delighted with the difference in my teeth as a result of wearing a brace for 18 months. I feel more confident in my smile! It’s been a pleasure being in the care of Staff. Their enthusiasm and energy are remarkable and very infectious!