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      27.07.2013 22:07
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      I've been to the dentist lots of times, so I know the drill

      My review is inspired by my 6 monthly check up this week. I chose to go this week on my day off in order to take all my children as we live in a village and getting to the nearest dentist before closing in the week can be quite challenging. I'm sure there are dentists out there that offer more flexible opening but ours is not one of them. Its not difficult though to book in advance and get a school holiday appointment. My dentist texts me 48 and then 24 hours prior to remind me I have an appointment, they also send me reminder letters when we are due for a check up.

      Our original dentist was lovely but the reception staff definitely needed to attend a customer care course as I often left quite shocked at how rude they were. There was never any eye contact, despite being a dental practice - smiles were definitely in short supply and frequently when I rang up to make an appointment the computer said no by always being "down" . Anyway about 2 years ago the dentist left, and it felt like every visit I made to them I said to my husband, "that's it, we need to find somewhere better" and it was the right time to go. Therefore I went on the internet, searched NHS dentists and the NHS choices site came up, by typing in my post code it gave me a list of dentists in distance order, but also how others had rated them. I quickly found local ones and by process of elimination found one that rated well.

      http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/AboutNHSservices /dentists/Pages/find-an-NHS-dentist.aspx

      I rang them up, and at that time they were taking NHS patients, but I did notice they had a sign stating that they had no more spaces currently for NHS patients. I work in Nottingham, and I have had quite a few colleagues say they struggle to find dental care.

      On our first visit, we had to fill in a health questionnaire.

      NHS v Private. My best mate goes to a private one and pays £12 a month, the kids are free. She rates her service as excellent but I have stuck with NHS due to cost. Looking at the NHS website, it states that care should always be the same... My husband (he went last week on his half day) and he just had a check up, this cost £18 as is classed as Band 1, I unfortunately needed a filling replaced and also had a scale and polish, which cost me £49 as is classed as Band 2.

      There are three standard charges for all NHS dental treatments: (as taken from NHS direct website)

      *Band 1 course of treatment - £18.00
      This covers an examination, diagnosis (including X-rays), advice on how to prevent future problems, a scale and polish if needed, and application of fluoride varnish or fissure sealant.
      *Band 2 course of treatment - £49.00
      This covers everything listed in Band 1 above, plus any further treatment such as fillings, root canal work or removal of teeth.
      *Band 3 course of treatment - £214.00
      This covers everything listed in Bands 1 and 2 above, plus crowns, dentures and bridges.

      I have taken my children literally since their first tooth and 6 monthly thereafter, as I have never been dentist phobic and I felt they should always see it as normal part of dental hygiene. I have always been very careful with ensuring good dental hygiene. Unfortunately my middle child has had lots of problems, she has little enamel on her teeth leading to decay, regardless of everything we have tried, unfortunately as is often the case, this has also happened to her adult teeth. This led to referral to childrens dental services to have extensive fillings and an extraction. She also has quite extensive overcrowding, which means we are also under Max Fax at the hospital for further major work, so by the nature she has become quite nervous of visits. My other 2 children are blessed with perfect teeth!

      I'm going to rate dentists a 3 Doo Yoo, as some are better than others and the price of £18 for a less than 5 minute count of my teeth feels very steep however I still go every 6 months as I only have 1 set.

      Anyway in light of the royal birth.
      Q. Why did the prince go to the dentist?
      A. To get his teeth crowned.

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        28.01.2013 00:52
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        A nice dentist makes all the difference.

        I don't have good teeth. As a child I was constantly given Coca Cola as a drink- I remember it often being a bedtime drink aswell. I must of been a very hyper child. I also remember a dislike of brushing my teeth- my Mother used to buy this horrible strawberry flavoured child toothpaste which I hated. Often she wouldnt bother with the fuss of making me brush my teeth. Chocolate and sweet treats were widely available in the house. All of these make for bad teeth. As i turned 18 I'd often have nights out binge drinking on sugary alcopops, possibly being sick during the night and going to bed not brushing my teeth.
        It probably wouldn't be as bad but I remember going to a dentist when I was 15 and him telling me the enamel on my teeth had gone so there was no longer any protection on them.
        I'm a big girl now and I try to keep up a good routine although old habbits can die hard I know I can't blame my teeth on anyone but myself now! I try to ensure I brush my teeth at least twice a day and rinse with mouthwash. My diet though would probably still make a dentist wince.

        I had a particuarly bad experience with the dentist when I was 19, I had to have a back tooth extracted. He was a foreign man and very direct in telling me how horrible my teeth were. He sighed after I told him it still hurt after one injection in the gum as if he was impatient with me. When it was over he asked me to stand up, I told him I felt dizzy and again he ordered me to stand up. My boyfriend at the time was waiting for me in the waiting room and as he stood with me in the queue to pay he says "You've gone as white as a sheet". I had gone hot, dizzy and my vision had blurred. After paying I had to sit on the step outside for 5 minutes or I believe I would of passed out.
        As you can imagine this completly put me off the dentist. I didn't return to the next appointment. I didn't plan to make any others. Sometimes I'd get chronic toothache and rather than being sensible I'd fend them off with painkillers, clove oil or any other remedy I could think of.
        I was anxious of going again, worried a new dentist would have a go at me because of my teeth, be nasty or when I had work done to my teeth it would be just as unpleasant.

        A few months ago my boyfriends Mother told me about her dentist, she had spoke to her about me and asked if I'd like to arrange an appointment with her as she was very nice. I was apprehensive but I knew I had to get something done. I would often get toothache and had a broken tooth that needed removing. I also badly needed a few fillings, sometimes when eating I'd chew and it would hit the cavity and a thunderbolt of pain would shoot through my tooth. It feels silly writing it down, but I put up with it because of my fear.
        Me and my partner currently recieve child tax credit and working tax credit which means we were tax exempt- I needed a lot of work done and right now I could get it done for free.

        My checkup was very reassuring, she noted that my teeth weren't in great shape and asked the reasons why I had no enamel. She told me what would need doing and how often she would do it. She was a really nice dentist so I felt instantly calmer.

        I had to have 3 appointments in all- it was only meant to be 2 but I go the time wrong on the second one so was a little late. Each time I had work done she told me exactly what she was doing e.g. putting an injection in, she watched me to see if i winced in pain, asked me if i was ok etc. She polished my teeth afterwards to help clean any bad bits of plaque.

        The injections are often the most feared experience of a dental patient. For me the injections in the gum aren't bad at all. The injection in the roof of my mouth is horrific, it feels like the needle is going through my head and I almost cried but it only lasts seconds and then its all numb. I just pinch the skin on my arm really hard while having it done. The pain is nothing compared to the amount I've had in toothache.

        I'm going back in a couple of months for a checkup. In my last session she noted that there may be a bit of root or tooth left in the extracton site but she couldn't tell while it was healing. Now its healed I can feel a sharp bit there so I am a little nervous of getting that done but I am calm about it because I have such a good dentist.

        My advice to any nervous patients is take time choosing your dentist. Ask local people for reccomendations. Dental procedures are not a fun experience, the only way to make them that bit bearable is to have a nice dentist!

        I give this 3 stars- my dentist is lovely and the stars are for her but the pain (although short lived) is not lovely!

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          30.12.2012 12:44
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          Dental work is a necessity but not an enjoyment

          In life, two things are harder than anything. One is giving birth and the other is going to the Dentist. All human beings have to do things they don't like and other things they love. I defy anyone to say they like to go to the dentist. I don't want to write about any particular dentist, just the experience of it.

          As a child i remember being marched in, kicking and screaming and insisting that i be knocked out before the man in the white coat dared approach me with his 'mirror on a stick' as i called it. Of course my insistence to be in a state of oblivion was met with a harsh look over the thick rimmed glasses of the dentist and an offer of a lollipop when he had finished, which defeated the object of going at all, if i was going to get something to further rot the teeth at the end of the visit.

          I know now the importance of healthy teeth and gums but as a child you don't relate to what is good for you, even when it is drummed into you. A visit when i was about 9, stuck in my mind because i had a tooth that was growing at a very strange angle and had to be removed. It was then that i first had the experience of being put to sleep. I remember distinctly, flying in a hot air balloon and looking down on a village full of dentists, running around with mirrors, trying to find me. Every time i go to the dentist now, i still envisage this and i see myself in the balloon whenever the mirror heads towards my open mouth.

          Most of our fears when visiting the dentist are irrational because products numb our mouths ready for the work that has to be done. However, i see the needle that is going to numb my gums and think of the pain it causes before the numbing takes place. I cannot bear the noise of the drill and the packing in of the filling into the tooth. Most of all, i dislike myself for feeling so scared and child like when it comes to my dental visits. I am an independant woman who has always had to make alot of important decisions in life but i quiver at the thought of sitting in a dentist chair. I do have to say though, that i regularly visit the dentist, at least twice a year for a good cleaning and look after my teeth. If the alternative is being gummy and watching my teeth in a glass next to the bed, then i will continue to deal with my fear.

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            30.01.2012 10:54

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            If you want professional dental care with a smile, I definitely recommend Pennington Dental

            I hadn't been to the dentist in far too long and learned my old one wasn't in practice anymore...so I googled around and found Pennington Dental. Out of all their other competitors, they were the ones that got me in the quickest and gave me the most detailed information over the phone, before I even made an appointment. The great service continued when I went in for my laser whitening treatment. It was done in no time, I got to watch television during the procedure and my teeth look incredible. All those thousands of cups of coffee, tea and cigarettes I've consumed over the years, erased from my teeth, like they never even happened. My teeth are whiter than people half my age, not in a false, outrageous hollywood way either, they look natural! I'd definitely recommend Pennington Dental and Dr Fuz for any kind of dental treatment, I know I'll keep coming back!

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            27.07.2011 12:10
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            Great Dentist, excellent staff. Pennington Dental really takes good care of their patients!

            I recently went to Pennington Dental for an Invisalign Treatment and was blown away at the level of professionalism and attention that was given to me during my procedure. Dr. Fuzail Jamail did an amazing job of explaining everything about the process to me and made sure all of my questions were answered before starting anything. I had been putting off going to the dentist for ages, as I'm usually afraid of them, but couldn't really handle having crooked teeth and smiling with my mouth closed any longer. I went in for a free consultation and everything seemed very straight forward and not so painful. After having the invisible braces on for about 4 months, I can notice a considerable difference in my teeth - they look so much better, I wish I had gone in years ago! I would definitely recommend Pennington Dental to anyone looking for an NHS dentist or anyone who needs any cosmetic work done. They are real professionals there!

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              26.02.2011 17:10

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              Recommend Cosmetic Dental Clinic to anyone

              Fantastic service at The Cosmetic Dental Clinic Ltd at Old Eldon Square, Newcastle.
              New Invisalign fitted by Dr Darren Cannell - fantastic service - can't wait to see the results.
              The whole process was really efficient from the first consultation to the receipt of the first Invisalign. It only took 2 weeks from the Invisalign impressions being taken until my next appointment for them to be fitted. I just need to go back every so many weeks to check on the progress. Everyone's time frames for wearing the Invisalign will be different but I should have perfect straight teeth within seven months and no one can even tell I am wearing a brace! I cant wait to see the finished results.
              All the staff were really friendly and professional within a fantastic looking surgery.
              I would recommend the Cosmetic Dental Clinic to anyone!!
              I would also recommend Invisalign for getting those perfect teeth!

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              24.12.2010 02:56

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              Dentists ? Where are you

              My private dentist tried to fill a small cavity in one of the molars. She failed to do so, so she suggested ne to extract the tooth out in order to prevent further decay. She tried to extract it, but she couldn't . She used a hammer and broken my crown and left the root in the gum. So she said sorry to me and referred me to a NHS hospital.

              I suffered unbearable pain after she did the half done job, so I went to her to request her to chase the hospital to provide emergency service, since I couldn't eat, drink and sleep due to the severe pain I have.

              So I went to the hospital, the dentist in the hospital did x-ray and said it is very complicated now. It needs a specialist surgeon to extract my tooth, but unfortunately only one specialist surgeon is available in the hospital, but he has gone for Vhristmas and new year holidays. So I have to bear the unbearable pain for another few weeks. The hospital gave me a lot if pain killers, after the pain killer, I was like a drunken man, slept straightaway. It will be terrible if I have to take the pain killer for a month and sleep Like this for a month, I don't need to celebrate new year and Christmas, no need to work????????

              Are dentists in the country are really dentists? They even have no skills of extracting a tooth? They are so proud to leave half of my tooth in my mouth! Than you for her to give me still half tooth to enjoy the Christmas turkey. Also thanks for the NHS hospital not having a on-call specialist on duty!!!

              It is really a mess!!!
              God bless! Never get tooth problems.

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              12.07.2010 14:11

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              If the third world is fully booked then why not try the UK !!!

              Having received both private care, and what is laughably known as NHS dental care in the last 12 months, I have come to the conclusion that whilst private dentistry can be eye-wateringly expensive, the NHS system has now disintegrated to a level which is probably BELOW some third world areas.

              NHS dentists I have encountered in the Derbyshire area are nothing short of APPALLING. I was told that I couldn't receive root canal treatment under the NHS and that the only option was extraction. I agreed to pay the £200 required by them, if I was to have the root canal work, and after a total of 3 visits and 27 injections, during the course of which my entire head went numb (but NOT the tooth !) they gave up and said "come back when it's died !!" ... Out of exasperation I went to a private dentist who had no trouble in numbing the tooth.
              More recently, a crown disintegrated, and I went to another NHS dentist to have a temporary crown fitted, and to order a new permanent one. This was for a front incisor. The dentist I saw, glanced in my mouth and this was apparently called a 'Check up' - he then applied some horrendous white bridging compound which filled the front of my mouth - making me look like some kind of spoof advert for geekdom you would expect to find in the pages of Viz comic. When I complained, I was patronisingly told that I was NHS therefore I would get what I was given !! With the inference being I was lucky they had even deigned to work on my teeth at all and not simply smashed them all out with a mallet.

              I then cancelled all future appointments and retained a private dentist to try and restore some semblance of cosmetic acceptability for the several weeks until a new permanent crown is made.

              I shall NEVER EVER EVER again let a NHS dentist near my mouth !! And will have to pay though the nose for private work - which as a tax paying citizen I object to very strongly.

              The state of this country's free dentistry is terrible and is a complete INSULT to those who genuinely cannot afford to pay for more expensive work. Why should people be penalised and forced to walk around with teeth missing and VILE looking work, merely because they do not earn enough ?? A lot of the more lowly paid workers in this country have vocational careers where they accept low pay for vital jobs where they altruistically work for the good of others. It is disgusting that the state does not return a similar level of care to them ! I am priveleged enough to be able to afford private work but I shudder to think just how bad it must be for some !!

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              09.06.2010 02:07
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              Look after your teeth!!

              Since I was little my Mum always took me to the dentist. I'd clean my teeth twice a day, and all was hunky dory. That was until I was about 16, and I had to have my first filling. Wow did it hurt! I think the dentist must have been drilling for oil, the length of time he kept going. As each minute went on, the pain got stronger and stronger - and that was after having a needle. As you can imagine I wasn't really in too much of a hurry to go back.

              A few years passed by and I needed another filling. This was torture to the highest degree. I think I'd have preferred he gave me the birch, or some other barbaric punishment. After a couple of minutes I told the guy to stop. He gave more another needle, and started again. Still no rest bite. By this stage my mouth was completely numb, but I could still feel the pain.

              I paid the dentist after he had done 'the job' and swore I'd never go back.For the next 18 years I'd clean my teeth twice a day, floss and use mouth wash, in the hope that it would keep me away from the dentists.

              About 2 years ago I felt a hole with my tongue, in my tooth. One of those fillings from my teenage years had come out. I didn't have the bottle to go back. After 6 months I was in serious pain. I was visiting wholesalers for packs of Anadin (okay maybe not but you get the idea). I rang up the dentist and made an appointment.

              Upon going into the dentist, she firstly wanted to exam my teeth. Her words wear 'these are a nice teeth', looking at her assistant she said 'this is what you get when you don't drink fizzy drinks'. She carried on'isn't that right Mr Stebiz?' I told her that I did actually drink lots of fizzy drinks, but only diet ones. She explained that although this would eat at the enamel, it wouldn't make my teeth go bad. Summing it up, it wasn't as bad. Whether she was right, I don't honestly know.

              Then she explained that if I had come 6 months back, when the filling came out, she'd have been able to put another in. As it was, the tooth was pretty dead, and unless I wanted her to do some root canal surgery, then the best place for it was the bin. Ouch! One needle. Two needles. She started tugging and tugging. At one stage it was like a scene out of a carry on film. Both hands trying to pull this damn tooth out. Cutting a long story short. It came out. I felt everything and I've never been back since.

              Last year though I did have to take my daughter to another dentist, who commented how I kept looking away, when my daughter was being treated. My daughter took great pleasure in explaining how I was scared. He tried to coax me into the chair, and I explained pretty much what I've said here. The pain was too much, even after needles. He went on to say that a very small percentage of people do experience this problem, and that he could deal with it differently. I never gave him the chance.

              The reason I wrote this today was because I had an earful from my wife. My daughter needed her check up today, and although I agreed to take her I wanted to stay in the car. In the end I had to take her and my wife, whilst I sat outside and waited, and waited...................what a whimp!! :-)

              There's a moral in there somewhere, but I'm not sure what it is!! lol

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                14.12.2009 15:31
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                Get registered or start trying right now!

                My Experience:
                I have just been to the dentist this morning after 5 years of not having an appointment. I initially stopped going because I had a nasty experience with a scale and polish; then because of fear of the cost (I was registered with a private dentist), but then when I went to have a check up, I'd been taken off the register owing to the fact that I hadn't been in such a long time - this then meant I couldn't get registered anywhere else as no one was taking on patients in my area. So then I put myself on a few waiting lists and then I ended up getting registered at a dentist 35 miles away from my home, but they didn't have any appointments for 2 months. On the off chance I called a dentist a few weeks ago at the end of my street and they said we have just started taking on NHS patients!

                I went today, I need an extensive scale and polish plus X-rays to ascertain the current state of my teeth. No major fillings, but some little ones which will need doing over time (think she was just trying to be easy on me) - she also said if worst case scenario happens she will refer me for sedation for my scale and polish if I am too frightened, but I told her I can't wait for that as it's about 10 months waiting time! It cost £16.50 which covers me this appointment and my next one (scale and polish along with X-rays). If my dentist then decides to start booking in the fillings, these will cost a total of £45.60 but my £16.50 will come off that, so it will be an additional £29.10. Not as damaging to my pocket as I had first assumed. And not as scary! I went, explained why I hadn't been for so long and then say in the chair while she had a poke around with the mirror and told the dental nurse all about my teeth. It took maximum 5 minutes from start to finish and she was so gentle and lovely I really did feel at ease. She even gave me a tube of Sensodyne Pronamel (just a little one) to start using.

                The receptionist was very helpful and knowledgeable - infact she gave me some leaflets, etc about the pricing structure of NHS work:

                Pricing:
                Band 1 **course** of treatment - £16.50
                This covers an examination, diagnosis (e.g. X-rays), advice on how to prevent future problems, a scale and polish if needed and application of fluoride varnish or fissure sealants. **If you require urgent care, even if your urgent treatment needs more than one appointment to complete, you will only need to pay one Band 1 charge.**
                Band 2 course of treatment - £45.60
                This covers everything listed in Band 1 above, plus any further treatment such as fillings, root canal work or if your dentist needs to take out one or more of your teeth.
                Band 3 course of treatment - £198.00
                This covers everything listed in Bands 1 and 2 above, plus crowns, dentures or bridges.

                **As you can see, it is for the course, so if you needed 10 fillings in a course of 5 appointments, you would only pay £45.60 and that includes band 1 treatment, so you're £16.50 is discounted from the £45.60. What's also good is that you go for an emergency and you only pay the £16.50**

                Finding a dentist:
                If you follow this link and enter your postcode http://www.nhs.uk/servicedirectories/Pages/ServiceSearch.aspx then it will give you a list of dental practitioners in your area. Along with the surgery details it will tell you if they are taking on or not, as well as who their dentists are, are they male / female and it also tells you what services they offer. It isn't updated regularly, I called 30 / 40 dentists from this site before I found one who was actually taking on, and then it was miles away - but it is worth checking out. Otherwise ask your friends and family where they go and then drop by, ask if you can go on a waiting list. They may not be able to do that, but it's worth asking. The NHS have a dedicated telephone line which will help you find a dentist too. They can also offer basic advice on your teeth and gums if you have any concerns.

                Keeping a dentist:
                Once you have a dentist IT IS SO VALUABLE and you are really lucky, there are a lot of people who can't get registered with one, so try to keep it; do so by keeping on top of appointments and don't let yourself be taken off their list by non-attendance.

                Most of all:
                You only get one set of adult teeth, I may sound boring, but I was scared they were going to say your gums and plaque are so bad that we need to take all of your teeth out. You should look after them, and attend your appointments if you are lucky enough to have a place at a surgery. Try and find one now, even if you don't need one, you never know when you will strike rich and find a place! And in the event of an emergency a dentist in your area must see you - they all have half hour / hour long clinics daily in which they can accommodate emergencies - but don't be fooled, this doesn't get you registered there! And don't worry too much about the cost - as you can see above it's not as bank breaking as you may think - worth the investment (and mine was for a Christmas present!)

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                  22.10.2009 00:08
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                  Three Cheers for Eastmans Dental Hospital

                  I have a very very real phobia for of Dental Surgeries, but I have found that I am in a unique position- the dentists are afraid of me- very very afraid.

                  They are so afraid that they refused to treat me, including my local Hospital- they just were not willing to treat me. One London Hospital also declined, in fact it took me five years to finally find a dentist that was willing to look after me- so ten out of ten to the special needs department at Eastman Dental Hospital in Grays Inn Road London, who took me under their care and gave me what can only be described as excellent service.

                  I am sure by now you are asking why - let me explain - I was in a dentist's chair and I went into anaphylatic shock- my whole body was shutting down, I could not breathe. Once in casualty, it was like a scene from ER, I was surrounded by Doctors and nurses. Needless to say they saved my life with massive doses of anti-histamine, a nebuliser and steroids and most importantly adrenaline. I had been dying because of an allergic reaction to something- to this day we know not what- as they said it was too dangerous to try and find out.

                  I was left with vocal cords that had hemorrhaged while I was fighting to breathe- mentally stressed, but otherwise physically unscathed.

                  But I still needed my dental work completed, but no one would do it- I was now afraid of dentists, but they were more afraid of me.

                  When I meet someone who is afraid of dentists, and they ask me if I am- I have to try and cleverly change the subject- knowing my tale will only make them worse. I remember being at work once, when a new employee was declaring nobody in the world was more afraid of the dentists than her- my colleagues all glanced across at me- I just smiled- trumping her wasn't going to help her fear at all.

                  Let me finish by telling you what happened when I was discharged after a week in hospital- the dentist who had been treating me telephoned me at home- now lovely I thought- he is ringing to see how I am- but he wasn't - he was ringing to tell me how much I owed him for the portion of the treatment he had managed to do before I collapsed.

                  You couldn't make it up!!

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                    04.08.2009 11:35
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                    NHS dentists

                    I was so amazed when I moved to this area of Northampton from another town as I expected I would have to go private having had to give up my life long NHS dentists where I grew up however I was fortunate enough to ring Duston Dental Practice when they were taking on NHS patients and as such I get my treatment at a cheaper rate than a private dentists.

                    The practice itself is located in a large converted house on the high street and houses a number of dentists, one of the downsides with being an NHS patient is that I never get to see the same dentist twice, I reckon in fact I get the trainee dentists on my annual check up however as my teeth are generally in good health this is not a big worry as I have not needed any treatment in over eight years of attending this particular dentist.

                    You do not book your check ups in advance instead you get aletter when you are due with an appointment time, most of the time I end up changing it due to work commitments but it is always pretty easy to get an appointment and they are reasonably flexible.

                    Reception is efficient but not overly friendly however all the dentists I have seen have been really pleasant and seem pretty competent at what they do. Certainly going to the dentist holds no fears for me and this dentists does a good job.

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                      01.08.2009 23:07
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                      Phobias can be negotiated with.

                      This review is about my very real phobia about visiting the dentist. I hope it will help you to understand something about phobic reactions and may help if you have any phobias.

                      Last Sunday I woke up with toothache. I felt severe pain and dread! I am phobic about visiting dentists. I don't mean I don't like it very much, I mean I am phobic! Palpitations, nausea, panic, irrational thoughts, bizarre avoidance techniques, you name it, I'd gone through it!

                      I knew exactly why I was phobic, I had some very unpleasant abusive childhood experiences which I wont go into here. I had also attended a dentist when I was about twelve years old who had terrified me by shouting at me for getting upset in the chair.

                      The fact was that anything involving having my mouth forced open, sent me into a panic of not being able to breathe.

                      I talked to my doctor about this a few yeas ago. His response was "That was a long time ago, you need to just forget it and think of something nice when you go to the dentist." Hmmm, well I hope he got his money back from the College of Empathy and Sensitivity he attended.

                      I coped by cleaning my teeth meticulously and pretending that they were going to last forever. Even though one of them at the back of my mouth was badly broken.

                      I could not bring myself to go to a dentist. I was ashamed of my cowardice and told no-one. I really admire people that can waltz in and out of a dentist's surgery every six months, it wasn't an option for me, I lost the ability to breathe properly just thinking about it!

                      I saw a psychotherapist. (I am one myself and it seemed the best thing to do.) Thank goodness I did! I could never have gone to get my tooth sorted out if I had not got the clarity, support and techniques to deal with my phobia by talking and working it through with him. I started to understand that I was phobic for very good reasons. I wasn't just an overreacting idiotic coward.

                      On Monday I rang the local NHS emergency dentist at Halton Lea, Runcorn. I was told that there were no appointments left that day and to ring tomorrow. Partly frustrated and partly thankful, I hung up.

                      On Tuesday I started to ring at 9am when the clinic opened. I rang 12 times and the number was constantly engaged. At 9.25 I realised that it would be quicker for me to drive there and did so. The receptionist was a young graceless female who informed me that there were no appointments left for that day. I explained that I had been ringing since the clinic opened and was met by a blank stare. "There aren't any appointments. Ring tomorrow."
                      Resisting the urge to pull her over the counter, I told her that I would come in at 9am and ask for an appointment. "If I am on the phone I have to deal with that first." was her response.

                      I left before I was rude. I was in so much pain I couldn't think straight.

                      9am on Wednesday saw me at the clinic again. I walked in and was met by another receptionist. She could not have been more helpful. She advised me to come back at 2pm and somebody would do something to help.

                      When I went back at 2pm, Sod's law had kicked in and the blooming tooth had stopped hurting! It's as if it knew it was about to meet it's match. I decided to carry on anyway.

                      I practised the techniques I had gone over with my therapist. I told myself
                      "I'm an adult now. No-one can hurt me like that again!"
                      "This is now, I am choosing to be here."
                      "Breathe deeply to give yourself some support!"
                      Etc. etc.

                      Unbelievably I nodded off on a waiting room chair! The receptionist called my name and I walked stiffly and fearfully into the surgery. I was greeted by the Professor of Dentistry warmly. He asked me if I would like to lie on the couch and adjusted it until I was comfortable. I did so and explained that I was phobic and embarassed.

                      I explained what I needed to be able to stay unpanicked. To be consulted, to be able to take my time, to be supported and not ridiculed. It was hard to say and I felt small and a bit silly.
                      To his everlasting credit, he listened properly to me and told me that he would explain everything that was happening and that I could stop him at any time. Importantly for me, I believed him!

                      He was as good as his word and told me everything that he was doing and why. He restored some of the power in the situation back to me. I felt less like a hopeless victim and more like an adult. His assistant was superb too, she sat and held my hand and told me I was doing well. Every step of the way they informed and encouraged me.

                      An X-ray was taken and the result was shown to me and discussed with me. I agreed that the tooth had to come out. I was given two injections and was told exactly how much they would or wouldn't hurt. I wasn't too bothered by the pain, just the intrusion into my mouth, but the honesty reassured me further. I was sent to wait for the anaesthetic to take full effect.

                      When the Professor eventually called me back he explained how he was going to extract the tooth and what I would feel. I could feel my panic rising again and said I just needed a minute to calm myself. They were both fine with that and reassured me again.

                      When he started to pull my tooth it didn't hurt. The sensation of pulling and pushing was very uncomfortable and I started to gag. He stopped, apologised and waited for my permission to start again. Eventually the tooth was out and he needed to carry on to remove some of the roots. I endured this but I was almost tearful. Finally he was done!

                      I was given some advice on aftercare. Checked that I was feeling okay and sent on my way.

                      The next few days were painful because my face swelled and was quite bruised. It was nowhere near as painful as my tooth had been though! It is still a bit sore but getting better every day. I have signed on with a dentist and will be seeing him next week. For me that is close to miraculous.

                      I have written this to encourage anyone reading who has a phobia. It is not necessary to suffer on your own. I didn't become phobic because I was stupid or cowardly, I became phobic for good reasons. When I became sufficiently aware of what had happened to me and why I reacted as I did, I was able to negotiate with my fear.

                      I was also able to negotiate with the people and situations that triggered that fear. I could say I was phobic and what would help me and I could stop the situation if it got too much for me. I could bring some level of control into what was happening to me as an adult that wasn't there as a child.

                      If you have a phobia and it's interfering with your life, please think about talking to someone about it. There are lots of people who are skilled at dealing with all kinds of phobias. They will take you seriously and help you to take yourself seriously instead of giving yourself a hard time about it.
                      Who knows what you might achieve and what have you got to lose?

                      I will never ever enjoy going to the dentist but I can do it now.

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                        21.06.2009 23:55
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                        Dentists you can't live with them, you can't do without them

                        As a child I had regular 6 month check ups with my local dentist, but did have 1 bad experience with a different dentist within the practice - where he gave me a filling without a local anaesthetic which put me off for a while, by which time they'd taken me off their list.

                        It was the time when problems first started appearing in locating an NHS dentist, but luckily for me my 1st wife's dental practice took me on. I have to admit that I developed a good patient-dentist relationship with the dentist which was situated towards the main hospital in Taunton. It took a while to walk/drive there (about 3 miles from where we lived) but it was friendly and extremely professional, and very rarely did the dentist rely on the hygienist to do the work.

                        My only problem was that I needed a general anaethetic to remove an impacted wisdom tooth, and that after it had been removed a pocket developed around one of my back teeth - which the dentist realised and did something about whenever I visited him. I never had an issue with them and I would use them again if I wasn't 80 miles away!

                        Well, that was then and one of the first things I did when I moved here 8 years ago was to find a dentist. My wife had one (Milehouse surgery) which was only 1/4 mile from our house, but with the removal and settling my kids into school I missed the appointment and they refused to take me on - it was early January, but still they should look at the facts before judging.

                        I rang the local freephone number and they gave me details of a couple of NHS surgeries in Plymouth and I have remained with them for 8 years. However, I do not consider they offer a service anything like the one I had in Taunton. The dentist takes one look in my mouth and its make an appointment with the hygienist, he did it himself once in the 14 or so occassions I've visited. When I complain of any pain he takes a quick xray or passes me over to a clinic at the local hospital for a head scan.

                        I have only recently started paying for visits, but at £16.50 a time for someone to confirm your address, drop the chair, and take a quick peak in your mouth it's pretty excessive. All this because the government were such late payers. It's just one of many things we are being ripped off for. And, what happens if you complain, well the chances of finding another surgery in Plymouth are almost non-existant, and for some people they have to travel 30-40 miles to visit a dentist. What is wrong with us, surely this isn't acceptable?

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                          11.06.2009 22:06
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                          shouldn't we be entitled to dental care?

                          I've not exactly had the best time with dentists to be fair. When i was younger i was fitted with a brace which was the start of my problems. From the start i apsolutely hated it, it wasn't your regular run of the mill train track brace, this was more of a contraption. It was a plate which was designed to try and flatten my top front teeth and bring my bottom jaw forward by hooking onto my bottom teeth. This was a childs worst nightmare, i couldn't eat with it in, or drink and i always dribbled, it was himiluating. Slowly i started to wear it less and less until my mother forgot i even had one to my delight. If i knew what i know now i would have put up with the torture, i hate that my teeth stick out a little and especially that my jaw is set back.

                          Over the next eight years i hadn't visited the dentist once as unfortunately i lost my dentist due to it changing to private and i was unable to afford the fees. My teeth slowly got worse and worse, and one day i had the most awfull tooth ache ever, and my only option was to visit the emergency dentist. To my relief they filled in my hole and thought that would be the end of it. To my dismay two weeks later the filling fell out,what the hell i thought? At a closer inspection it turned out to be a temporary filling which they had stuffed with cotton wool stuff. Why on earth could they just not permantly fill it up, rather than putting a silly temporary one in, wouldn't this be less hastle for both parties in the long run?

                          It took me 8 years to finially find an nhs dentist (as i had no way of affording a private one), by this time my teeth had decayed, i knew this was partly to genetics as my family also have bad teeth, but was this also due to eating too many sweets or not brushing my teeth well enough? Well all i could think was that i finially had a dentist and couldn't wait to get them fixed. I am only 22 now and have got 6 filling and need to have 3 teeth taken out...how bad! If i had a dentist previously i believe i wouldn't have to have a ny teeth out...this has come to me a as a major blow...nobody wants to have their teeth removed. I just wish i could re-grow my teeth again. If i knew what i do now i would defenitaly take more care of my teeth.

                          In my opinion dentists are a life saver, but im not a fan of how they are run, just think of the thousands of people who don't have a dentist and how their teeth must be. Since the closure of so many nhs dentists teeth problems have risen, shouldn't it be like medical care and be entitled to it?

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