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Finding a judgment-free zone: Shannon's story

Like many people, Shannon inherited her fear of the dentist. Her mother had an avid dislike and actually refused to take her daughter for regular oral care. When Shannon finally did go in for checkups as a teenager she received lectures about the condition of her teeth. She left feeling badly about herself, and worse, harshly judged by the very people who were supposed to be helping her.

As she grew up, the answer seemed simple to Shannon: Avoid the dentist, avoid the judgment.

"Fortunately, that's not the scenario my husband saw at all. As he watched the condition of my teeth continue to deteriorate he got continually more agitated and frustrated with me. And he kept talking about 'sedation care' which at least at the very beginning I didn't understand at all."

Finally, Shannon decided: "If my husband trusts sedation dentistry then maybe I should too." So made an appointment to receive dental care with sedation.

The way Shannon was treated by both the dentist and her team had a huge impact, Shannon remembers: "They also gave me information no one else had troubled to provide. I learned that my teeth were predisposed to decay -- a sort of genetic legacy." She was told that in order to keep her teeth it would be important to monitor the decay and work closely with the dentist to prevent problems.

Instead of lecturing Shannon, the dental team praised her efforts in the past. They said they were glad she came in and looked forward to continuing to help her.

Shannon now tries to spread the word to others about the value of sedation. "The more people I talk to about what I've had done, the more I see the vital need for sedation dentistry. It's hard to say where I would be without it. No matter how long you've put off care, come back. There are sedation dentists all over the country waiting to welcome you."