Guggenheim Dental Clinic

dental-sedation-new-york-ny Were you a Guggenheim Dental Clinic patient?

 Many patients over the years have mentioned the Guggenheim Dental Clinic as the source of their paralyzingly dental fear.  The “Guggenheim” was a public program that provided access to dental care for New York City children for decades.  

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Children from religious based and public schools were transported to the clinic.  Raw fear was communicated amongst the children.  Interestingly, I’ve encountered people from all over the world who were treated in similar circumstances resulting in extreme dental fear.  I feel that a lack of parental support, and supervision, as well as authoritarian treatment, were key factors.  Lifelong fears were instilled for these early school-age kids.  

While former Guggenheim patients may never forget their memories, a series of good experiences as adults can help.  Discussing these experiences with a trusted friend or professional is also beneficial.

If you were a Guggenheim Dental Clinic patient, I understand, and I’m here to help. Please don’t hesitate to give me a call. We can work together and provide a home for your dental care. 212.974.8737

Posted in: Dental Anxiety


  1. Although I wasn’t a Guggenheim clinic patient
    I was treated under my father’s Local 1199 union dental program as a child and preteen.
    The experiences were horrific and nightmarish and became an integral part of my ultra severe life long dental ptsd dental phobia panic terror.
    The memories of the nightmare I experienced never totally went away- it was like they were seared into my ” body memories ”
    One of their participating providers even tried to molest me during inhalation anesthesia that did not relieve my pain and terror. Another provider of theirs inflicted tons of pain and caused tons of bleeding and abject terror.
    It’s a lifetime legacy

    Comment by Marsha Lampert MBA MS on August 29, 2017 at 8:52 am

  2. I was a Guggenheim patient and can attest to the terror of the children removed from classrooms (random?) onto the bus to Guggenheim. At age 6 I had an extraction (why?). The dentist slapped me because I cried.
    I have had root canals, implants, oral surgery; no problem. Two years ago I had an extraction and cried from the time I heard, hysterical in the chair. I took the Propofol. Yesterday I had a toothache, left lower wisdom tooth, loose. I am crying as I write this.

    Comment by Geraldine Walsh, Pediatric nurse practitioner on November 29, 2017 at 7:11 pm

  3. Feelings of anxiety from past traumas can be very overwhelming. I’ve heard many stories about the Guggenheim, all of which led to much dental anxiety and avoidance of care. In regard to your pain, you should have this addressed as soon as possible. You can give us a call, and we’ll do our best to help you through this.
    Best always,
    Lou Siegelman
    (212) 974-8737

    Comment by Dental Phobia on November 30, 2017 at 8:18 pm

  4. I also went to this dental clinic as a young child. The fear I feel now at the dentist has everything to do with that experience. Inner city children bused to the city to br experimented on by students from all over. No adults allowed to be with you, which I’m certain today would be against the law. I still remember the elevator with the gate that closed and depending on what floor, you would know what was being done. That place was horrible and to this day I fear the dentist

    Comment by Marilyn Crockett (Parker) on June 23, 2018 at 7:15 pm

  5. Marilyn, Thank you for your comment. These types of bad experiences often make going to the dentist stressful and lead to avoidance of care, but there are ways to overcome the fear. If you have any questions about dental anxiety or modern dentistry, please give us a call.

    Comment by Dental Phobia on August 7, 2018 at 5:05 pm

  6. I’m 78 yrs old. I remember very well the fear of every Monday, being bussed to the Guggenheim clinic. We were 6, 7 or 8 yrs old.They NEVER gave you a shot. They drilled and pulled even if you didn’t need it. We were all so scared . We were used for their learning. That’s why today I have such bad teeth. And , I fear going to dentists.

    Comment by Ronald DiCicco on August 6, 2018 at 1:44 am

  7. You are not alone in your experience with the Guggenheim clinic. After this type of encounter going to the dentist can be difficult, and I’m sorry these past experiences have affected your oral health. If there is any way we can help lift this burden, please don’t hesitate to call.

    Comment by Dental Phobia on August 7, 2018 at 4:46 pm

  8. Yes, I was one of the many traumatized victims of that horror house they called a dental clinic. To this very day, people I speak to about Guggenheim find it hard to believe that we were experimented on once we arrived there by bus from the public school I attended in Astoria, New York, in the late fifties and early sixties. They would drill and extract our teeth without any anesthesia. Incidentally, most of the pupils were Black and Hispanic.

    Comment by Derrick Simpson Wilson on September 9, 2018 at 10:57 pm

  9. Thank you for your comment. We’ve met many people with the same experience at the Guggenheim clinic. This type of dental history can keep people away from the dentist for decades. Please know we are here for support and happy to help you in any way.

    Comment by Dental Phobia on September 13, 2018 at 7:20 pm

  10. I was a parochial school student from the mid sixties to early seventies. I was one of those bussed from school to the Guggenheim dental school of horrors. To this date I have a very difficult time going to dentist, my teeth have to be in a bad way for me to go and have anything done!

    Comment by Edwin Cabanas on September 19, 2018 at 2:29 pm

  11. I was about 9 years old, in public school when I was taken to the Guggenheim Clinic for an extraction. I have blocked out the details other than that I was separated from my mother and the children were treated like cattle! I had nightmares for years and inordinate distaste for the name “Guggenheim” since. I thought that it was all a dream until I ran into two others as an adult who’d had the same traumatic experiences at that clinic. I haven’t been to the Guggenheim Museum because of the name!!! I am nearly 64 years old.

    Comment by Lisa Wright on October 15, 2018 at 2:10 am

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