Talking it over: A way to overcome dentist fears

Talking it over: A way to overcome dentist fears

If you're afraid of going to the dentist, there is a way of getting over your fear that is almost crazy just because of how simple it is.

It's all about having a korero, or conversation, with, in this case, a Maori whaea or aunty.

Story found someone prepared to give it a go to see if it worked.

Pip Randall is going to have a painful root canal. Normally she would pay up to $1000 to be knocked out with sedation because if she doesn't she will panic.

But this time the anaesthetist is too busy. He's booked solid for three months. So Ms Randall is trying the new, unconventional method, meeting with a Maori whaea for a korero.

They'll talk about what she is scared of and what has made her scared. The korero will take an hour.

Cherith Vaha'akolo is working with a west Auckland surgery owned by dentist Scott Waghorn.

"There's always going to be people who hear about it and are dubious, but you know I always say, 'Just come in and see what we're doing,'" says Dr Waghorn. "It isn't rocket science. It's all about love."

Experts have weighed in on what is happening.

"It's quite easy for people to, for many people to, be induced into a more trancelike or hypnotic state," says Nigel Robertson.

Hypnosis is actually an accepted medical technique.

"It usually involves speech, education," says Mr Robertson. "It might involve music. It may involve specific objects, and it usually involves a series of instructions."

So how does Ms Randall manage during the root canal?

Watch the video for the full Story report.