Focus: They do what ...? Byways of the charity world - Beyond Fear

Jo Mattock

This website, www.beyondfear.org, provides information and support to people suffering from dental phobia - the fear of going to the dentist.

It was started by Andy Soleki, who suffered from dental phobia and offers coaching for people committed to beating it.

"Not only did my dental and general health suffer, I also lost my self-confidence and self-esteem," says Andy Soleki on the website. "I have heard it said that 'when it hurts enough, people will go to the dentist', which does not hold true for dental phobics."

This is graphically illustrated by some of the stories. "My teeth started crumbling away and breaking off," says one sufferer.

"Several of my back teeth had broken at gum level, and the gums had swollen around them. I thought the only way to deal with the problem was to cut the gums open to get all the bits out. The pain was unbearable but my fear prevented me from seeking help."

The site offers a helpline, case studies of people who have overcome their fears and a workbook sufferers can use to make an appointment with a dentist.

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