Conquering Fear: Anuar’s Story
Anuar is Danish … that is, he is from Denmark. He has settled down in Malaysia and now works off shore for a oil and gas company whilst also doing work for the Nature Society doing surveys on wild life for them. Anuar for 35 years would happily get his teeth checked, polished and filled with absolutely no problems.
What I would like to write about is how a single traumatic dental experience had caused Anuar to fear dental treatment and anything to do with needles, so much that he will suddenly faint.
You see Anuar is not your average Joe … no indeed! Anuar is super fit, he was a commando in the Danish Army! He is trim and runs to keep fit. In his own words, Anuar will stop his car if he sees a motor vehicle accident and help the persons involved …
Anuar does not fear blood or injuries … but ever since that fateful appointment, Anuar could not control an almost debilitating fear which will come over him whenever he needs dental treatment or even acupunture !
Hale and hearty Anuar would suddenly, and uncontrollably, start to feel a gripping fear and faint!
It all started when he went to a dentist some years ago to remove his wisdom tooth. The dentist struggled with it for 3 hours … she even called her mother (who is a dentist too) for help before giving up and stitching Anuar without completing the job!
Anuar first came to us recommended by his wife. He needed that same tooth taken out! To make things even more complicated, Anuar also needed the tooth next to it to come out as well.
He was nervous and told us all about the experience years earlier. I told him not to worry and promised him that he wouldn’t have any pain and I would be able to do the job quickly.
And so I did … in minutes it was out and over … but what happened next was totally a surprise!
Even though the whole procedure was over … the teeth were out, Anuar was fine and talking to me … suddenly he began to grow pale. Noticing this, I began to gradually lower the dental chair backwards so his head was lower than his legs … as I did this Anuar fainted but promptly regained conciousness again as the blood could flow to his brain.
He was okay and I kept him in the clinic for a while longer before he happily left. he was not in pain … the bleeding had stopped ages ago … but he still fainted after everything was over. Hmmmm….
Last week Anuar came in again for yet another extraction.
Amy, the clinic manager remembered Anuar and asked him if he had eaten breakfast as an extraction on an empty stomach may trigger a fainting spell even easier. Anuar said he had eaten.
It happened that my friend Dr Zainal Danial Abdul Rahman, a psychaitrist, was also waiting for his regular check up. With Anuar’s permission, I asked Dr Zainal to come in so we could help Anuar conquer his fear once and for all.
We talked about various techniques to deal with Fear. One way was to think of something else rather than dwell on what was going on … perhaps think about a place that was beautiful. I also asked Anuar to keep in mind that he was in a different clinic, that he was being treated by a different dentist and that the last experience was painless and fast … that it was a totally different experience the last time he had his tooth out.
This time I could give the injections and took out the tooth without any problems! Anuar did not faint but I still kept Anuar in the clinic for another half an hour whilst Dr Zainal had his treatment just to make sure.
Later Anuar left with yet another appointment … this time it was for wisdom tooth surgery again … he needed to get the left side out and it was impacted!
Anuar came in today. This time it was for wisdom tooth surgery … not simple extractions. He was a little nervous and truth be told, so was I … I did not want Anuar to have another bad experience … ever!
Dr Aws Ali, our consultant endodontist, examined and took the initial xrays which confirmed he needed to take out the impacted tooth … we started talking about diving, Tioman Island, wreck diving in Bali, seeing Sunfish (huge, huge fish that are very rare and have tiny fins so they resemble the Sun/Moon).
I gave him his injections and started the surgery whilst talking some more about diving. In about 15 minutes the surgery was over and I was doing the last stitches.
Anuar was fine!!! He said he just concentrated on my chatting about diving and my face!
Anuar, you did it!
You have conquered your fear!
I am so proud of you!
Thank you for letting me write your story. I hope many people who have such fear as yours are inspired by you and how you were not stopped by your fear.
You see, too many people think they are bad/weird/no good just because they fear the dentist/doctors/needles. That is so untrue.
Too many people are stopped and don’t seek dental treatment just because of ONE bad experience and suffer!!
I hope Anuar’s Story will help you see that even someone like Anuar, can be afraid … and like Anuar… you too can conquer your fear.
Way to go Anuar … you are my Hero!
Dr. Fauziah, Thanks so much for taking out my unwise wisdom tooth…or rather teeth. Honestly, hearing that it was a surgery and from dark stories by people around me, I really didn’t want to do it until a friend recommended that you’re awesome…and truth to be told…you are! I can testify to Anuar’s experience because while you were talking to me and I was listening as you performed the “surgery”, I was actually thinking of Haagen Daz, my favourite ice cream, EVER. It’s really when you take your mind off something and think of things you like, it will totally… Read more »
Thanks Dr Fauziah…will do…actually I made an appointment before wth you, but chickened out..maybe will try for real this time (no choice actually, because i can feel dull throbbing already from 3 teeth)
Good job, Anuar! This is such wonderful story about conquering fear 🙂 Being afraid isn’t something to be shameful about, the botched surgery sounded so painful and would probably have scarred me for life too! But thanks to Dr Fauziah and your bravery, you managed to get over your traumatic experience.
Dr Fauziah, thanks for being such an amazing dentist!
I need wisdom tooth surgery..and a specialist recommended that I do it under general anaesthesia…if that guy faints and can do it anyway…can i too? I have more anxiety, panic attacks than anything else…im too afraid to remove it and another tooth in front…and its also quite expensive i hear…
btw…which dentist called her mother? OMG…i had one upper wisdom extracted by H n A which resulted in his extractor patah…i felt dizzy but didnt faint..but swore off him
I IS TERRIFIED!!! (I would rather give birth…)