Smile for the camera! Touching pictures of woozy children coming round from anaesthetic after having teeth outChildren's Hospital hopes the images will allay patients' fears of the dentist

Emma Reynolds


16:34 GMT, 7 June 2012



16:58 GMT, 7 June 2012

These touching pictures show the faces of children before and after they are put under anaesthetic for particularly dreaded procedure – having their teeth pulled out.

The adorable youngsters at Sheffield's Children Hospital look cheerful and alert beforehand and then woozy and confused afterwards.

Photographer Andy Brown decided to create the series to show the young patients' bravery during what can be a singularly traumatic childhood experience.

Boy 1

Billy after

Ouch! Billy Pilkington, six, told his mother he 'wouldn't be able to smile because his teeth hurt'

His early-morning photographs from the dentist's waiting room show the children looking determinedly confident.

After their portraits were captured, the uncomplaining subjects were put under general anaesthetic for tooth extraction and remained unconscious until just before the second pictures were taken in recovery room hours later.

The fascinating pictures include that of Billy Pilkington, six, who had his photo taken when he went to have a tooth taken out with his mother Nicola, 31.

Ms Pilkington, a hairdresser from Sheffield, said: 'Billy was nervous and a bit upset beforehand, he'd had surgery on his eye previously and was scared.

Girl 1 before

Girl 1 after

Tooth fairy: This little girl looks bemused after having been unconscious for more than an hour

'But he liked having his picture
taken. He still wasn't quite 100 per cent when his photo was taken
afterwards. He said, “I don't think I'll be able to smile because my
teeth hurt.”'

Sheffield-based Mr Brown said: 'In recovery, children were
disorientated, woozy from the general anaesthetic and often upset. Their
bravery in posing for a portrait despite this can be clearly seen.

'I chose to document the procedure in
this manner to reflect the experience of the patient. They have no
memory of the procedure; they are unconscious between the two time
points recorded here.'

The hospital opened its doors to
three professional photographers last autumn, with the idea that they
would capture the essence of daily life on the wards for a
groundbreaking exhibition.

Boy 3 before

Boy 3 after

Intense experience: The groundbreaking exhibition aims to make patients young and old feel less intimidated by hospitals

The show is called You Are Not Alone, and aims to reassure children and parents who are intimidated by hospitals.

Along with two other two artists – Shaun Bloodworth and Richard Hanson – Mr Brown documented heartbreaking and life-changing moments in surgery, chemotherapy and on the neonatal ward.

The hospital's website reads: 'We recognise that coming to hospital can
be an anxious time and that this can come from an uncertainty of what
to expect.

'This exhibition aims to break down some of these barriers by
showing some aspects and characters of the hospital which are not
normally seen.

Boy 2 before

Boy 2 after

Nap time: The little boy looks surprisingly calm before his tooth is pulled, and pretty sleepy afterwards

'By sharing patients’, parents’ and staff
experiences, we hope to demonstrate that we are not alone in our
anxieties and wish to provide viewers time to reflect on and even
celebrate what makes their own experiences of The Children’s Hospital so

'Through these stories, we aim to share a
glimpse of the bravery, care, dedication and even humour that exists at
the hospital every day.'

Mr Brown's moving series recalls the hilarious YouTube video 'David after dentist' – a film of a disorientated young boy coming round after a trip to the dentist.

The cult clip, recorded by David's father, gained more than 100million views.