Eastman Dental Institute


Patient story: Chris Cook

Chris Cook, patient under our Special Care Dentistry Team, writes about his experiences

Patient Chris Cook

The rare condition of Riley Day Syndrome or Familial Dysautonomia has left me with a number of complex conditions both seen and hidden. Membership of Medic Alert gives me peace of mind that if I were unable to communicate with healthcare professionals/paramedics for whatever reason, they’d be able to ascertain critical information about me and my complex medical conditions, to ensure that I received the best possible care, to speed my recovery.
Through the expert treatment and care of the Eastman Dental Institute, my quality of life in terms of my clarity of speech, vital for my communication with the outside world as a totally blind person and for my work as a lecturer in German and Transport Studies and a disability awareness trainer, has been astounding and outstanding. This has involved collaboration from experts in many different fields; most notably Professor Stephen Porter from Oral Medicine, Mr. Lloyd Searson (implant extraordinaire) and Mr. Canaan Elias, restorative dentist now retired, who has since been superseded by consultant Dr. Krupti Denhard.
The key points of my long-term treatment have involved the crowning of most of my top teeth to preserve them, after I ground most of the bottom ones to pieces. As a result of this and to give me some bite in my lower jaw, three titanium implants were placed in my lower jaw, to preserve the remaining bone back in 2005.

Lloyd Searson then designed a fixed bridge to a unique design. He had to cut it right down because of my very restricted tongue movement. The bridge is screwed into the implants, as standard overlay dentures weren’t at all effective and used to be destroyed by my unorthodox bite and in the words of Prof Porter “pathetic proprioception.”
Professor Porter and colleagues place much-needed importance on exposing many of their postgraduate students to patients with additional needs and disabilities, so that they can learn how to treat such people with the same level of dignity and respect that any patient would expect from a healthcare professional. I always try and put such students at their ease when they first meet me, as they have a lot to cope with simultaneously; i.e. my total blindness, coupled with all the oddities in my mouth including the usual superficial ulceration, which is a primary characteristic of my condition.