You might know the feeling. You have a toothache—pain like you’ve never experienced before. You know you need to go to the dentist, but you are gripped by fear.
For Robert H., a patient in our dental clinic, that fear kept him from going to the dentist for 26 years, leading to severe physical consequences.
When our Dental Coordinator Terri mentioned to me that this man no longer has any fear, I jumped at the chance to speak to him. As Lackey Clinic’s Director of Development, I love hearing testimonies about how lives are changed. But also, I am the biggest chicken when it comes to going to the dentist! I wanted to hear about this miracle and hoped it rubbed off on me. For those of you who can calmly go to the dentist, relax in the chair, put your earbuds in and leisurely listen to music, you are envied. For those like Robert and me, read on.
With previous dental experience that was less than ideal, Robert found himself to be a 40-year-old man who had not been to a dentist since he was 14. In lieu of regular dental visits, he had been on a long, painful journey that included multiple trips to the ER to ease his suffering. When he developed acute abscesses in his sinuses, gums and every area of his mouth, the hospital treated Robert with IV antibiotics and morphine for his excruciating pain. It was there that he was urgently referred to Lackey Clinic.
Robert was skeptical about his first visit. “I was squeezing my fiance’s hand, shaking all over,” he describes. “Tears were streaming down my cheeks because I was so frightened.” But then something surprising happened. “My dentist here was great,” Robert says. “He was so calm and made me so comfortable, I began to relax. Before I knew it, some of my top teeth were pulled out. I felt nothing! As God is my witness, I am not fearful anymore!”
Does the story end here? Not at all. Robert has vowed to take care of his teeth. Lackey Clinic’s aim is not just to eliminate pain, but also to set the patient up for a lifetime of good health care and self-management. With a smile and a big piece of gauze in his mouth, Robert says, “I have no more pain, no more suffering. I am going to do what I can to take care of the rest of my teeth. My experience with Lackey has been excellent!”
I have to wonder, how many of us are like Robert? Can you imagine having this kind of pain with paralyzing fear and no resources to take care of this need? Thank you to all who have generously partnered with Lackey Clinic. Make no mistake about it: you made Robert’s pain go away!