Bolton dentist uses 'happy air' to ease fear of going in the chair

Bolton dentist uses 'happy air' to ease fear of going in the chair

Dr Michael Cahill reassures his nervous patient, Jayne Buchanan

Dr Michael Cahill

Dr Michael Cahill reassures his nervous patient, Jayne Buchanan

Dr Michael Cahill reassures his nervous patient, Jayne Buchanan

Dr Michael Cahill with the machine that delivers the mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide

Treatment begins with the “happy air” delivered through a nosepiece

First published in News The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , health reporter

LET’S be honest. No-one really likes visiting the dentist.

It’s uncomfortable, sometimes painful and quite often, you know you’ve neglected your teeth.

But for some people, this reluctance is more of a deep-rooted fear of dentists and even a phobia.

Bolton dentist Dr Michael Cahill has seen many patients arrive for an appointment in tears because they are so frightened.

Dr Cahill wanted to help these patients overcome their fears and introduced “happy air” as a treatment option.

“Happy air”, or inhalation sedation, is a way of relaxing patients using gas and air.

Unlike gas and air given to women in labour, dentists can adjust the levels of oxygen and nitrous oxide in happy air according the needs of each patient.

Dr Cahill, of Cahill Dental Care Centre Ltd in Higher Bridge Street, said: “Happy air is a way of relaxing patients to allow them to have treatment that they find difficult or even impossible to endure.

“We have offered various types of relaxing therapies over the years, but we find this to be one of the most effective for patients.

“It was actually quite unfashionable for a while, but we have found it really helps patients.

“The biggest advantage is that it is much less invasive than other treatments.

“There are no injections in your hand and you are not left feeling really spaced out afterwards. With happy air, the patient is in complete control.

“Most patients are anxious to a certain extent and we have to accept that.

“Nobody likes to be poked and prodded in their mouth and that’s one of the problems many people have with dentistry.

“It’s very intimate and people find that unnerving. But I have seen people who are really phobic and have stayed away from the dentist for 15 years as a result.

“They can be tearful and very embarrassed about it. With some people it goes back to a bad experience during childhood.

“Yet it isn’t always learned. Some people just hate the thought of it and struggle to even lie back in the chair.”

When patients are given happy air they wear a small nosepiece as the dentist carries out the treatment.

The patient should then start to relax and feel a “pleasant sensation”.

Jayne Buchanan suffered with anxiety before every appointment, but says inhalation sedation helped her cope.

Ms Buchanan, aged 44, from Edgworth, said: “I wasn’t worried because I had had a bad experience — I had just never liked it since I was a child.

“It was that sense of being out of control that I hated. The happy air definitely helped me relax.”

Cahill patient Dawn Newall, aged 39, said: “I’m petrified of the dentist and always have been. Everything about it scares me. I never miss an appointment, but when I arrive my palms start sweating. The hardest bit is getting in the chair. I just want to jump back up.

“But last time I went it was better. I needed a tooth out and they talked me through it all before they started and then gave me the happy air.

“I felt much more relaxed and felt like I could have fallen asleep.

“It was breeze and before I knew it, it was all over.”

Dr Cahill says treatments like inhalation sedation are particularly important in a town like Bolton where oral health is particularly poor.

Dr Cahill, who worked as an NHS dentist for 20 years, added: “We feel it’s important to help people overcome their fears because it means they will keep coming to their regular appointments.

“I had someone come to me in his 40s and his teeth had started to wobble. It turned out he had very advanced gum disease and I had to tell him he was going to lose all of his 28 teeth. It’s terrible when you have to give someone such bad news and you just wish they had come to see you sooner.

“It’s a huge psychological thing for someone to lose all their teeth and it is also a huge financial expense.

“My advice is quite obvious but it can help prevent gum disease — one of the biggest problems — and oral cancers.

“You should always brush twice a day, use fluoride toothpaste, avoid sugary snacks and visit your dentist every six months.”

Comments (3)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

10:29am Fri 8 Aug 14

Gore Seer says...

Please Sir Can I Have Some Of That Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
aaaa
Please Sir Can I Have Some Of That Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaa Gore Seer
  • Score: 0

10:29am Fri 8 Aug 14

Gore Seer says...

Please Sir Can I Have Some Of That Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
aaaa
Please Sir Can I Have Some Of That Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaa Gore Seer
  • Score: -3

10:58am Fri 8 Aug 14

filthy6 says...

Is it right that Bolton Council want to start pumping this stuff from the town hall roof in to the streets of Bolton?
Is it right that Bolton Council want to start pumping this stuff from the town hall roof in to the streets of Bolton? filthy6
  • Score: 4

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree