I’ve enjoyed over two decades of dental practice. During this time, I have been blessed with a wonderful staff and a fabulous patient family. In all these years, one of the most challenging hurdles I’ve seen for a number of patients who want a confident smile? It’s not treatment cost or time or concern about the results. It’s dental fear.
For most adults who have dental fear or anxiety, the originating source seems to stem from a traumatic dental experience in their past, often as a child. I’ve heard stories from some who recall being held down in the dental chair by a hurried, rough dentist. Some adults have shared how a dentist continued in a procedure even after being told they were not numb. Naturally, these episodes embed deep into one’s subconscious and overshadow every thought of dentistry.
As a dentist who has treated hundreds of patients who once had high levels of dental fear or anxiety, I understand. There are few times in our lives where we must remain reclined on a narrow chair while someone with pointed instruments pokes around in an area as sensitive as our mouths! Not being able to see what is going on merely adds to the element of fear for some people. Add in the noises, bright lights and feeling vulnerable and, for many people, you have a recipe for white knuckles.
Here’s the other side of that picture, though. Our goal is to NEVER make a patient feel uncomfortable (physically or emotionally) and to ALWAYS create an experience that encourages them to see dental care as positive parts of their overall health and well-being. Once a fearful patient realizes that we can be counted on, they relax. When they realize they are truly in charge of the pace of their treatment, they relax. And, when they realize how wonderful it feels to have a healthy, confident smile, they smile when they walk into our office and smile when walking out!
While I focus on providing the highest level of skills and technology in all procedures, creating a comfortable experience throughout each patient’s visit is a commitment I try to bring to every aspect of care. This is exemplified throughout the practice. From the staff who greet you to the hands that care for you, we believe you deserve a warm, caring team from start to finish.
Some fearful adults do well when Oral Sedation is combined with their visits. This is in pill form and taken prior to arriving to our office. By the time you enter, you’ll be relaxed. You’ll be seated in a treatment chair and covered with a warm blanket while the pill takes full effect.
In addition to helping you relax, Oral Sedation has an amnesiac effect that helps to erase most (if not all) memory of treatment afterward. Throughout your treatment, you’ll be monitored for safety and comfort by a specially trained staff member.
After your procedure, you will return home to rest. Recovery is quick and most feel back to normal within several hours.
In addition to treating fearful or anxious patients, we are also experienced in treating dental phobics. These individuals have such high levels of dental fear they shake or sweat at the mere thoughts of walking into a dental office. In these situations, IV sedation (twilight sleep) is often the preferred option. This is an in-the-vein form of sedation that places you in a sleep state. Most have no memory of treatment after but do need a longer recovery period as a result.
While we are sensitive to the needs of ALL of our patients, we are especially so with those who have fear associated with dental visits. Often, however, the patients who require sedation for one or two visits will decide to forego it upon realizing they can trust us to be gentle and caring at all times.
If you have dental fears or know someone who does, begin by calling toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to speak to a friendly staff member. Ask for a no-cost, no obligation consultation. I’m always happy to meet with patients in this private room that is removed from the clinical side of the office. During this time, we can discuss your concerns and I’ll explain how we can help you at a pace you feel is right.
If desired, we can also put you in touch with some patients who have overcome their dental fears and are now smiling confidently and beautifully!
Don’t let a traumatic episode in your past hold you back from the smile you desire. Take that first step today by making a telephone call. You’ll be treated kindly and respectfully.