Dentist Nicola Taaffe and her team have revealed they’ve helped thousands of people overcome their fear of going to the dentist over the last 25 years.
Speaking at a recent meeting of the well known business women’s club I Am Woman, Nicola revealed the extent of her work with people who may not have sat in a dentist’s chair for decades.
“We’ve helped thousands of people since the 1980s when I pledged to help one person a day with a phobia.
“Fear is a huge issue when it comes to going to the dentist. For those who have never experienced that feeling, it’s very hard to understand but it’s real. This fear can manifest itself in many different ways. It could be fear of pain, fear of choking, or the drill, needles, anaesthesia or of diagnosis.
“Yet it’s vital people do regularly see a dentist. There are links between an unhealthy mouth and heart disease and, we think, also diabetes.”
Nicola (50) was the first dentist in Cardiff to promote services to people who have a debilitating fear of going to the dentist.
These have included a man in his late 30s who had not attended for many years.
“His trigger to contact us was the birth of his son,” Nicola said. “His initial appointment was very strained but I managed to establish a treatment plan….during his last appointment he thanked me for helping to overcome his fear. It has led to him extending his work as a software engineer to include dental surgeries as he can now enter them without being frightened just of being in the building.”
Cheryl Bass, founder and managing director of I Am Woman said:
“Nicola’s story and her mission to help others is inspiring and we’re thrilled she is part of this organisation. It’s not only her work we admire but her commitment to her business and her willingness to keep learning even though she’s been in business herself for 25 years.”
Nicola, who runs her clinic in West Grove, Cardiff, has a few tips for anyone who is a dental phobic:
*Don’t be afraid to ask questions by email or phone – it will get easier.
*Talk to your friends – this phobia is more common than you might think.
*Chat to the reception staff of your chosen surgery – the way they behavel echo the ethos of that practice.
*Look for a team which includes you in key decisions – treatment should happen with you not ‘to you’.