"now I am really relaxed when I think about my next visit to the dentist"
This is the letter that Ms M.M. from Tyrol (Austria) sent to us after having her treatment in October / November 2012:
I am a very active and successful person and judging from my appearance nobody would think that my teeth were in a disastrous condition.
The very thought that the bad condition of my teeth would become visible to everyone robbed me of my sleep and caused anxiety attacks and heavy sweating. Back then I didn’t know why I was having these anxiety attacks but the fact is that they were getting worse and worse with each year.
Sometime over 2 years ago, while I was reading the newspaper, a small advert of Gentle Dental Office caught my attention. Just looking at the ad caused me intense anxiety. I read it over and over again though and after a few months I plucked up the courage to take a look at their website. One year later, when the physical and emotional suffering was getting more and more intense, I started studying the website and every little detail in it. I read other patients’ testimonials looked at the pictures and watched the films and tried to imagine what it would be like if I got help as well. By that time, I had made a firm resolve to call them up and get help, but another year would go by until my front teeth, too, were getting destroyed by caries and it seemed likely that sometime soon I would no longer be able to do my job, which required some degree of self-confidence.
During all that time, I left no stone unturned and tried out every promising energetic and holistic treatment approaches I could find. Those treatments, of course, didn’t do anything to help since they did not address the root of the problem. I looked up other dentists on the Internet but I somehow felt that Gentle Dental Office was the original one and that other dentists were just not as professional and effective. The many positive comments on the Gentle Dental Office website as well as the promise that everything would be over after three appointments and one single session of a full-mouth restoration under general anaesthesia did a great deal to encourage me.
It was five minutes to midnight but another two months would go by during which – several times each day – I tried to call the Gentle Dental Office number. The time had come on 11th October 2012 and I finally did it. Ms Herold answered the phone and I immediately felt I was talking to an old friend. Since I had studied the website and watched the film about Ms Herold’s story, I felt I had known her for a long time. Her upbeat way of talking to me also did a great deal to calm me down. She was very reassuring, she talked about her own experience and answered every question that I asked with my trembling voice. When she suggested I have the appointment for the initial consultation four days later, I was shocked, but she reassured me that the initial consultation would just be a conversation and nothing else would happen there. I was glad that Dr Leu would personally take time to listen to my problem so I agreed and made the appointment.
During those four days I felt as if I was in trance. I didn’t really know what was going on and was imagining the worst. I am going to see a dentist! The worst horror on earth! Ms Herold had said though that I could call her up anytime.
I don’t remember much from the one-and-a-half hour drive to the practice where I would have my first appointment. I felt like I was in a shock. I arrived way too early and sat waiting in the car, counting down the minutes, as though I was about to be beheaded. Then, with trembling knees, I went up to the practice and to my surprise it was a very cosy one and it did not smell of dentist at all. Dr Leu, who made a very friendly impression, came up to me to greet me. He did not judge me at all. The consultation took place in his office, on “normal” chairs, and he explained everything to me down to the smallest detail. When he asked me to open my mouth, I did feel a bit uneasy. I expected him to give me one of those condescending comments, but instead he explained what needed to be done and said that he could see how well I cared for my gums. I was thoroughly confused since getting a compliment was the last thing that I had expected.
I will never forget Dr Leu’s last words of that appointment. Dr Leu told me I was not aware of what great a step I had taken that day. At that time I didn’t quite understand what he meant by it.
I left the practice after the consultation, full of proud although nothing obvious had happened. A few days later I received the treatment plan and I was determined to see this through. I didn’t really have a choice because my existence depends on my impeccable appearance.
I wanted to have the second appointment two weeks after the first one. I had mixed feelings between the two appointments: joy, fear, pride,… I tidied and cleaned the house from top to bottom and numbed myself with as much work as possible as if there was no tomorrow. Ms Herold was there for me during all that time. Just knowing that I could contact her or the rest of the very empathetic team anytime reassured me a lot.
When the time had come for the second appointment, the treatment, I still didn’t quite understand what I was going on and what I was feeling. When I arrived at the practice – the same one where I had the first consultation – I broke out in tears. The anaesthetist, Dr Rachfahl, came right away and gave me something to calm me down. He took good care of me, was very empathetic and found the right words to cheer me up and distract me.
When I woke up from the four-hour surgery, I didn’t know whether everything was over or whether I had just taken a nap. I did not have nor get any pain or swelling. After recovering for one night at a hotel next to the practice, where I had my surgery, my husband, who had come with me, took me home and I was simply proud of myself.
The provisional teeth that I had for two weeks before getting my definite teeth at the third appointment perfectly allowed me to go out and about and to get back to work.
The date for my third appointment was coming up and once again I became very nervous. When I got to the practice, however, and saw Dr Birch, my treating dentist, Dr Rachfahl and the rest of the team, I knew I had no to be nervous. I did not need any anaesthesia or sedative during the third appointment. Dr Birch explained everything in detail, which took away all my fear. During that third appointment, which in effect was my first visit to a dentist since I had “slept” all the way during my second appointment, I never once felt that fear which had tortured me so much for so long. It was not worse than, say, a visit to my cosmetician.
The joy over my beautiful new teeth, however, did not come until a few days later since I could not believe that everything had happened so quickly and without any complications. I had some doubts before since it all sounds so incredible, but it was just like that!!!
It was the right thing to choose Gentle Dental Office! Looking back, I have to say that Dr Leu did not sugar-coat anything. But he was still very reassuring way without frightening me.
Taking the first step and picking up the phone and the time leading up to the first appointment, during which all Dr Leu did was talk, was a lot worse than the second and third appointments.
During the second and third appointments I felt so reassured that I had the impression that the Gentle Dental Office team could not possibly be from this world since it doesn’t happen very often that you meet people that are as understanding and empathetic as they are. Plus they have a great deal of expertise in their field.
It was a very nice surprise for me to see that the Gentle Dental Office team kept taking care of me even after my third appointment. So now I am really relaxed when I think about my next visit to the dentist in six months’ time. And since I am going to have regular check-ups from now on, I do not expect any major damage.
I haven’t talked to anyone about this up until now. Down to this day, many of my friends and family do not know that I went to see a specialist for dental phobia. This is still a taboo that by all means needs to be broken. When I talked to some very close friends of mine, they told me similar stories, which really surprised me because this kind of phobia is more common than many people think it is.
The only bitter thing about this whole experience is that I regret not having taking this step earlier. If I had, it would have spared me a lot of suffering and a lot of my teeth could have probably been saved. But it is never too late! Why wait when it is so easy to face your fears?
A great thank you to Dr Leu and the entire Gentle Dental Office team for this new life and radiant smile.