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Dental technology helping local veteran with severe PTSD

Posted at 5:29 PM, Nov 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-08 17:30:14-05

It's Veterans Day on Saturday, November 11th.

As we celebrate and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country, one veteran is thankful to find new peace following his struggles with crippling PTSD. 

But state-of-the-art technology being used at a dentists office in Wellington is helping him to cope with his symptoms.

Seven years ago, Iraq and Afghan war veteran Blake Deloach's life changed forever while deployed in the Middle East.

"We were just going out on what seemed like a simple mission. And we got ambushed that day," he told WPTV during an interview on Tuesday.

A rocket-propelled grenade hit his truck, taking out his eyesight and sending shrapnel into his body.

"My whole truck was down but you know what, it was amazing to see the guys, everything just kicks in. We fought our way out of that and made it back to base," said Deloach. "I'm no hero. I never claimed to be. I just did my job, I loved my job.”

Now totally blind, Deloach has struggled with countless obstacles in his life since the injury, including from drug addiction to post-traumatic stress disorder.

"I would just turn to drugs so I didn't feel anything, but I didn't want to," he said. "A lot of people see the wounds we have now. But a lot of times, the wounds these guys have, you can't see all the time."

The 30-year-old has suffered from severe PTSD for several years and certain tasks involving high-stress and noise can trigger panic attacks. Even the sounds of his infant son crying would trigger memories of the cries of battle.

And coming to the dentist was near next to impossible.

"It was debilitating to the point where I couldn't even eat. I wouldn't go anywhere, I wouldn't do anything," he recalls.

But thanks to new technology called Nu-Calm, Deloach is finally finding relief. On Tuesday, Deloach was able to get a regular check up and cleaning with no problems from the drills or loud machines.

"I'm actually able to function in a day to day life that I didn't think was possible," he said.

His dentist, Dr. Marianna Kaufman of Kaufman Dental Associates in Wellington, normally uses the NuCalm system to help anxious patients.

"It's a neuro-acoustic software that takes the brain to a meditative state," she explained.

Using electrodes placed behind the ear, a calming cream using plant extracts and noise cancelling headphones with special music, the device sends the patient into a relaxed state.

"All of it combined takes you into a pre-sleep," said Dr. Kaufman.

And seeing the results with Deloach has inspired Dr. Kaufman to try and take the system beyond the dentist chair and to hospitals across the area. While thousands of dentists have used the system on nearly one million patients in the past decade, the system has increasingly been used for PTSD and cancer patients.

"My patients who have PTSD, those who are going through treatment for terminal illnesses -- it really helps them to cope in a more healthy way," she said.

Dr. Kauffman actually bought a system for Deloach to take home to help his PTSD wherever he goes. The system costs over $4,000 a piece.

Since Dr. Kaufman's office has become a Certified NuCalm Provider, the company that makes the product will be partnering with the dentist to gift $500,000 worth of the systems to people in need across the country through a giveaway program in the coming year.