To set the background, the patient, who's name had been changed for reasons of confidentiality, attended my practice as one of two demonstration cases on one of my Hands-on RA courses. Her treatment under RA being relayed via video to a projector screen for the course delegates to observe.
I hope you find her story inspiring and if you have attended one of my courses and are still thinking of offering RA to your patients, this may help you to make a decision. If you are still considering attending one of my courses, does this convince you ?!
I would ask that if this testimonial is relayed further that it is not changed in anyway and that the following conditions are adhered to. Thank you
Copyright © 2004 all rights reserved.Richard Charon is a Dental Practitioner serving Dental Practitioners in their desire to provide the benefits Relative Analgesia (Inhalational Sedation) to their patients.
His One day Hands-on teaching courses are currently delivered from his Private Dental Practice at St. Mary’s House Dental Practice, Newbury, Berkshire SL6 6HF.You may copy or distribute this message as long as this copyright notice and full information about contacting the author are attached. The author is: Dr.Richard CharonContact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at St. Mary’s House Dental Practice, Newbury, Berkshire SL6 6HF.
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Finallly , the "machine" she mentions is the " Wand Plus TM" .
As a woman closer to 40 these days than 30, and not having visited the dentist for nearly 20 years, it was with some trepidation that I set out to find one in Newbury. My wisdom teeth have been coming through slowly but surely for a number of years and whilst not causing me any discomfort, have started to push the teeth in my lower jaw together, so they are now becoming very crooked. It is not just vanity that makes me want to sort that out, but also the thought that what I went through teeth-wise my early teens was too much to let this happen.
Back then, in order to avoid a brace, the dentist suggested that a number of teeth were pulled out early to allow new teeth to grow through straighter. My mother agreed and I was scheduled to have 8 out - all in one visit. No general anasthetic or "gas & air", just a local anasthetic in my gums. Having already suffered a number of mercury fillings, in terror, I managed to wobble two teeth out myself in the weeks running up to the appointment but couldn't avoid the inevitable.
The day came and my entire mouth was numbed. I remember very little apart from the last tooth. It was the toughest. I remember the final pull and the "ping" as the tooth flew across the room and hit the window. That experience assumed cartoon proportions in my memory - imagine a sweating dentist levering himself with one foot on the dentist chair and pulling for all he was worth. ugh! That was the last time I went to the dentist.
Until ... I was in my early 20's and scheduled for major surgery. My wisdom teeth were aching by then and showing through. Being unsure about tooth-ache and general anasthetics, I thought I'd better get the pain checked out. My nervousness got the better of me and with sweating palms and anxiety, I was 5 minutes late for my appointment. Imagine my surprise when the dentist proceeded to tell me off, inform me that she wouldn't be able to carry out a full check-up and would just have to check the offending area. I tried to explain how terrified I was and she responded with wasn't I aware that I was responsible for her being late now for the rest of the day? I swore then that dentists were just as arrogant and self-absorbed as the surgeons I was seeing and determined to look after my teeth so I never had to see another one.
So, it was with some bravery and a bit of vanity that I tried to find a local dentist. After listening to two different, harried receptionists who were both clearly too busy to hear my nervous explanations, I found Richard Charon on the internet. The lady who answered my call was sensitive enough to listen to my horror story and suggest I came in just for a check-up and we "would work it out from there".
This listening approach continued throughout my check-up. The lady who had spoken to me on the phone was in reception when I arrived and the dentist turned out to be her husband - Chris & Richard Charon. It felt like a family business; there was no rush to get me through the door and we went at my pace. Richard explained every step and when I panicked at the dental x-ray, he stopped until I was ready to go again. A little while later, it was clear I needed some work - a couple of cracks, a hole and a missing filling were going to take precedence over the wisdom teeth.
Whilst I felt much better about a visit to the dentist, I wasn't ready for all that work, so six months later, when I hadn't responded to any of Chris's gentle reminder letters, one tooth started to get very sensitive and it was plain I was going to have to gather my courage and go back.
Richard confirmed my fears that it would be necessary to drill out an old filling and replace it - requiring a local anasthetic that would numb most of my lower jaw. Seeing the look on my face, he began to describe a technique he uses which included the use of "happy air". Despite his reassurances, I was still very nervous and entirely sceptical - so much so that I asked if Richard had been published on the subject and when he said "yes", I asked for a copy of the article. No, I know nothing about dentistry, but having recently completed my own Masters degree, I reckoned I could make some sort of judgement of his confidence through his writing. I then asked Richard to go through every little detail of what would happen - and I mean every detail - right down to exactly how many instruments would be in my mouth at one time and precisely how the filling worked. Not a usual request from most patients, I'm happy to say that Richard wasn't the slightest bit fazed and gave me enough time to tell me absolutely everything.
I read the articles about "relative analgesia", checked his website and read the testimonials - anything I could get my hands on. It's not arrogance, but knowledge. Knowledge is power and that power would give me the strength to get through the dental ordeal. I took the rest of the afternoon off work, convinced I wouldn't be capable of reasonable thought, let alone doing any real work.
Chris greeted me and did her best to distract my attention by asking about my work. It worked for about a minute until Richard invited me into the dentists chair. As he went over what he'd told me before about the 'happy air', his nurse put safety glasses over my eyes and balm on my lips. As the nose piece was fitted and I was asked to breathe through my nose, my sweaty palms gave way to tears of absolute terror. Every time I breathed in, I thought the nose piece would be sucked harder onto my face and I panicked at the suffocating feeling. All the time I kept telling myself I was old enough to get through this, that many people do it every day, Richard's calm voice just kept telling me what was happening every step of the way. As he worked out the dosage of happy air that would work for me, I was convinced it wasn't going to work. Then I realised that my legs and arms really did feel heavy and my palms had gone from sweaty to just warm. Immediately I panicked again - this felt like I was losing control of my limbs - and then I realised that I felt like I was floating slightly and actually, it was a bit like being cocooned in a favourite fluffy blanket with a cat asleep on your legs.
Then the work started; the local anasthetic was bearable- well, it was never going to be a walk in the park, was it? I concentrated on the pinging sounds of the machine and took comfort in the electronic gadgetry - what can I say, I'm a child of the technology age! I panicked a bit, convinced that my entire mouth was going numb and that I was going to swallow my tongue. Richard could see my discomfort, but kept talking me through it until the numbness set in. I took notice of everything Richard was saying as he fixed the rubber dam and started work on drilling out the old filling. Eventually, it became apparent that not only could I not feel a thing, the rubber dam was keeping any and all bits out of my mouth, I could still swallow, was definitely NOT swallowing my tongue and actually, I could still hold a conversation with Richard if I needed to.
At some point, I drifted into a reverie about what I was going to make for supper that evening and where I was going to shop; I thought about murals that Richard could put on his surgery ceiling and then realised that he was still talking me through it....."but you're really not interested now are you, Sarah? Just get on with it, huh...."
And I giggled and agreed with him.
I giggled. Huh? How did that happen? There I was, mouth wide open, bright purple rubber thing fixed to my teeth; drill, water jet and hoover in my mouth; new fillling being put in and I was giggling?!!
I went back to that night's recipe and let him finish the work. As the oxygen kicked in and I came off the 'happy air' I realised I hadn't felt uncomfortable about the nose piece and now it was feeling a bit suffocating again. At that point, Richard had decided I was back down to earth and took it off and I sat up. "There, that wasn't so bad was it?" I couldn't deny it - it wasn't so bad. It wasn't necessarily an enjoyable experience, but neither was it a terrifying, painful one.
I sat with Chris in reception for about 20 minutes until I realised that I was chatting and gossiping away quite happily and probably, in fact, over-staying my welcome! When the next patient walked in, I realised it really was time to go. I felt quite normal, and quite light-hearted; I had a smile on my face - at least the bit that wasn't still numb! - and I was quite pleased I'd taken the afternoon off - I could enjoy it now, instead of sitting around feeling sorry for myself.
My logical brain says it's dental treatment, not an epiphany. My emotional one says I'll get the work done - but I'm only ever going to the one dentist again. The one that I trust won't hurt me, and who treats me like a person, not a mouthful of teeth that need fixing.
Chris Charon rightly identified me as a woman who likes to be in control. Yes, I'm like that in my business life - and the Charon's also run a business, not a charity. In my business, the best customer I have is the one who has come to me having been referred from an existing customer. I found the Charons on the net - but let me refer you to them. It's the best advice I can give a person with toothache....