Facing an inconvenient tooth

PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 April, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 16 April, 2007, 12:00am

Local dentist Benjamin Lee says that many people in Hong Kong care for their teeth well enough, but are nonetheless scared to visit the dentist.

Lee has seen patients who suffer from so-called dental phobia, which can cause serious dental and other health problems.

Most people 'are quite dentally aware, but it's often their own phobia that limits them from receiving the proper treatment they know they need [and want]', he says.

Dental phobia is prevalent in the US, and people are looking for ways to overcome it, Lee says. Hypnosis and psychotherapy have failed.

'I saw a 30-year-old patient taller than the tree in my garden, yet frightened as a mouse in my chair. Another had left his teeth to rot since childhood before finally making the decision to get them seen to. It wasn't a pretty sight, but now they're fixed.'