The hugging dentists
Two women who've come up with creative ways to treat anxious patients.
Easing the fear of the dentist's chair - getting teeth fixed can be a traumatic experience for vulnerable patients. Kim Chakanetsa meets two women who use innovative methods to restore smiles.
Dr Sharonne Zaks is not your average dentist. In her practice in Melbourne, Australia, she specalises in treating highly anxious patients, many of whom are survivors of sexual assault and trauma. These patients often experience a loss of control when lying back in the dentist's chair. Sharonne aims to open up communication with each patient, and to remove the shame they may feel about the state of their teeth. Sometimes she even uses music and massage to help patients feel more at ease.
Dr Sonia Sonia is an Indian dentist who has dedicated her career to supporting survivors of domestic violence. Based in Brisbane, Australia, Sonia is herself a survivor of domestic abuse, and when she started practising dentistry she recognised the signs of abuse in her patients. Over time, she has helped women escape abusive relationships, and given then confidence to live their own lives. Sonia says her biggest reward is putting the smile back on someone's face.
(Photo: L: Sharonne Zaks. Credit: Sharonne Zaks; (R) Sonia Sonia. Credit: Roshan Vas_Angel Photography)