WHEN she was a little girl, Jayne Ward used to be afraid of dentists.
But now the 47-year-old works as a dental hygienist – and runs her own practice.
Jayne, of Edgerly Gardens, Cosham, sold her house to get Coast Dental Health, in Copnor Road, Copnor, up and running.
She had to take the drastic step because while dentists get government help to set up practices, hygienists don’t get the same funding.
Jayne, a mother-of-two, said: ‘When I was younger I was scared of dentists and when I went to America I saw their approach to it and wanted to open my own, relaxed practice here.
‘I suddenly found myself single with two young children and decided to go back to college to train as a dental hygienist.’
Jayne went to Highbury College and the University of Portsmouth Dental Academy.
‘I qualified as a hygienist and therapist and worked in dental practices where I would frequently hear patients would like more choice as far as dentistry goes,’ added Jayne.
‘It has been very stressful as hygienists do not get funding thrown at them the same way a dentist would so I have had to fund this project almost totally alone.
‘Because dentists have been around for so long they just get money chucked at them.
‘Hygienists don’t have previous records in setting up practices, which is why money isn’t as available.
‘I sold my house and downsized and put an awful lot of money in.
‘I have put in about 85 per cent of my own money, whereas a dentist will get full financial support.
‘In some ways it’s quite good because it’s a big risk, but at least it’s all mine.
‘This was a big risk at the end of the day.
‘A year of my life has been taken up in doing this.’
Jayne employs two dentists and a hygienist to work in her practice.
A dentist is able to diagnose and treat a patient, while a hygienist carries out preventative work under the supervision of a dentist.
Jayne’s practice has been awarded the Care Quality Commission stamp, which recognises high quality.
She said: ‘Our inspection was very successful and we passed with flying colours.
‘We have a separate sterilisation room meaning all instruments are cleaned away from treatment areas, therefore offering best practice infection control.
‘I have tried to take the feel of dentistry out of the waiting room and make it welcoming.’