Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Dentophobia !

Did you know that there are over 500 different types of phobias in the world? Health professionals describes phobia as " an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something ". Each and every one of us might have a phobia that we are aware of, yet it is different from one individual to another.

One of the common phobias is actually the Dentophobia. This occurs to people who suffer from fear of seeing the dentist. It is usually caused by a traumatic experience with a dentist from the past that has instilled fear in them. Uncle Samad is one of them, who had undergone dental treatment years ago as a teenager replacing his upper front teeth. 

" I swear i wouldn't step foot in a dental clinic EVER since i last had my treatment done 25 years ago"

Uncle Samad was a state rugby player who lost his upper front teeth from a rough tackle by his opponent. It was a head on collision with another player from the opposite direction. He woke up with blood all over himself and a sharp throbbing pain on his upper jaw. The tackle had caused him his front 2 teeth. He was about 32 when this happened. The immediate response was to send him to the nearest government hospital to get his teeth fixed. He was brought in to the Emergency Deaprtment and where his broken upper front teeth had to be removed. 

"The pain of getting through the night was a nightmare. Since then, I get cold feet when i think of dental clinic. Its like being paralysed at the thought of visiting a dentist. Sometimes, it is much easier just to bare with the pain"

Unfortunately for Uncle Samad, his little wish of never seeing a dentist didn't last him for long. Reality hit him when his upper set of false teeth (dental fixed prosthesis-bridge) started to get loose and infected. He wasn't the happiest person to think that he will need to get his upper teeth fixed, but he decided to wait and prolong the visit to the dentist until one day it finally dropped out. Now he had NO choice but to eventually succumb to the hands of a dentist, to replace his upper missing teeth. However the difference was that he had now lost 4 upper teeth in total, as compared to previously losing only 2. This was a result of waiting and procrastinating his dental treatment for over two decades!

Dental phobias are very stressful and could cause anxiety attacks in extreme cases. Uncle Samad was terrified about seeing us. However, he knew he had to get his teeth fixed. He learnt about  us through an interview on the BERNAMA news channel about Cosmetic Dentistry. After watching the program his dental fears had calmed down a little, and so Uncle Samad decided to give it a try.

We had a good session chit chatting with him, understanding his fear from dentists while he expressed what he wanted. He tried sourcing for permanent fixtures for his defective dental condition.   We knew the exact fixtures that Uncle Samad needed. It had to be better than the last one, stronger than before, and aesthetically acceptable. So in a nutshell, an anxious patient having a low smile line and a long upper lip needed replacement for 4 upper teeth. He needed implants.

We planned on installing the implants at bone level using Swiss made implants with simultaneous  GBR (Guided Bone Regeneration). A combination of autograft and allograft was used to enhance bone growth on the implant site.

The implant placed on upper left was a little more subgingival due to the bone height of the alveolar ridge at that site. After a good 4 months of healing while being on a temporary bridge, the final prosthesis was constructed- made from Zicorn core, finished with a porcelain touch.

We also decided to crown a few more teeth on the upper jaw. This was necessary from the aesthetic point of view, and also to aid in the occlusion. Uncle Samad was satisfied with his new set of teeth. He is now a good friend of ours. It is very encouraging to see him battling his phobia from seeing a dentist every time he meets us, as he is able to relate to us as a healthcare practitioner who cares for his needs, feelings and most importantly understanding his deep seated fear.

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