A Unique Dental Office For People With Fear or Anxiety

added on: June 18, 2024

It can be a vicious cycle. Avoiding regular dental care often leads to oral problems that result in pain. These problems, for people who are already fearful of seeing a dentist, can lead to more complex and involved treatment that, unfortunately, adds to their association of “pain” in relationship to “dentistry.”

Dental fear ranks 4th in the most common of all fears and 9th among intense fears. The mouth is full of sensitive nerves and subject to injury and the formation of problems that cause pain. While the fear itself of pain from dentistry is understandable, those who avoid or delay preventive dental visits are risking harm that goes beyond that of their oral health.

Fear of dentistry – at any level – has its price. Nearly half of Americans ages 30 or older (47.3%) have some level of periodontal (gum) disease. Periodontitis, an advanced stage of gum disease, is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss. It can have even more dire consequences however.

Gum disease creates inflammatory bacteria that can leak into the bloodstream through tears in diseased oral tissues. Research has found that these infectious bacteria are able to activate the development of or worsen some serious health problems, some as severe as stroke, certain cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, and heart disease.

These bacteria form, in most cases, because of insufficient oral hygiene measures at home or lack of regular dental care. Without dental checkups and cleanings (generally every 6 months), tartar commonly forms at the base of or in-between teeth.

Tartar is a hardened mass of bacterial colonies. They not only cause cavities; they attack gum tissues and the bone structures that support teeth. As bacteria continue to amass, periodontal disease begins.

Typical symptoms include:

   •tender and swollen gums

   •seeing blood in the sink when brushing

   •persistent bad breath

   •gums that turn red in color versus a healthy pink

   •gums that recede from teeth, exposing sensitive root areas

Yet, for those who are fearful of going to a dentist – even for dental cleanings and exams – what is the answer? For many of our Macomb and Oakland County dental patients, we believe we have the right setting blended with an appropriate approach to care for each person regardless of their fear level.

Our entire staff is sensitive to the unique needs of those who have fear or anxiety. We are all committed to helping people through each appointment, start to finish. To begin, we know a long wait in a reception area can allow anxiety to build. This is one reason we strive to see patients within 5-10 minutes of their appointed time.

During treatment, we realize that many patients relax while listening to music or watching a movie, thus taking their focus off the procedure. We offer a wide array of options along these lines in addition to having ergonomically designed treatment chairs so patients can truly lay back and relax.

We also communicate with patients throughout their care since patients are more at ease when they know what is being done. At any time during their care, patients can signal that they need a break, even if it’s just to sit up and stretch.

When numbing is needed, we begin with a swab placed on the area to dull sensations in the gum tissues. Going slow with the needle and administering the Novocain at a slow pace helps avoid those jolts that can result otherwise. Perhaps this is why my patients claim I give “painless injections!”

We also offer both Oral and I.V. Sedation for fearful patients or those who desire added relaxation for lengthy procedures. Oral sedation is in pill form and taken upon arrival to our office. Rather quickly, the patient begins to feel very relaxed. As the pill takes full effect, many patients tend to doze off but remain able to respond to questions.

I.V. sedation, also known as “twilight sleep,” provides a deeper state of sleep. For very fearful patients, it is a more reassuring option although it has a longer recovery period than oral sedation.

Both sedatives erase most or all memory of the procedure afterward. And, with both, patients are monitored by trained staff using advanced safety equipment, ensuring both safety and comfort.

We also utilize advanced technology that greatly enhances patient comfort and typically reduces time in treatment. These computerized and precision imaging features help us to provide the most conservative treatment that accomplishes treatment goals in minimal time.

For example, our dental laser eliminates or greatly minimizes bleeding during procedures, reduces numbing requirements, removes bacteria, and easily uncovers gum tissue where dental implants have been placed. And, because the laser seals tissue as it goes, healing time is faster.

Regardless of the comfort option you select, it’s important to choose a dentist that is right for you. This relationship can be one of the most effective ways of all in getting past the obstacles that have prevented you from achieving the smile you desire.

I invite you to get to know us by viewing a couple of brief videos:

Dr. Barbat – Intro to Sedation Dentistry

Dr. Barbat – Intro to Advanced Technology

And, you may enjoy reading a guide that helps people deal with these issues at various levels. Download this at:

Guide For the Fearful Dental Patient

Ready to schedule a no-charge consultation? Call 586-739-2155 or tap here for an online request.

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Dr. Ban R. Barbat

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