We’ve all been there. Things like going to an upscale restaurant and being told by the hostess that your reservation is for the next night. Or, checking out at a busy grocery store only to realize our wallet was left at home.
Being occasionally embarrassed is a given during our lives. Yet, getting past the feeling of embarrassment is more important for some things than others. Dental appointments seem to be at the top of this list.
There are things that make some patients feel embarrassed to the extent they avoid going. That’s detrimental to the oral health of the individual and something we’d like to help you get past.
Common reasons for embarrassment at the dentist are:
• DENTAL FEAR
• WORRYING ABOUT BEING ABLE TO PAY FOR DENTAL CARE
• HAVING TO HAVE DENTURES OR A PARTIAL REMOVED FOR THE EXAM
• HAVING MANY TEETH WITH CAVITIES
• HAVING NO DENTAL CARE FOR MANY YEARS (OR EVEN DECADES)
I’d like to address these in the hopes you will realize the feelings of embarrassment should be set aside.
Dental fear is a common problem for Americans, even with the advanced measures by most dentists to provide a comfortable experience. Fear or anxiety associated with dental visits affects an estimated 70% of American adults, and about 5 – 10% of these can be categorized as “dental phobics.” These are individuals who may begin to sweat or even cry at just the thoughts of being in a dental chair.
When I first began dental practice (26 years ago!), I quickly became aware of the vast number of adults who were (in their words) “scared to death” of going to a dentist. I knew my commitment to all patients was to NOT hurt them, so I became even more focused on providing a gentle touch and (what my patients often refer to as) “painless injections.”
I then received advanced training in order to offer oral sedation, a pill form sedative that provides a state of relaxation that often causes the patient to “doze” throughout treatment. Many oral sedation patients do not remember treatment afterwards and like its quick recovery.
From that, I realized that a deeper sleep state was desired by some people. Many of these would tell me they wanted to be “knocked out” for the procedure. I.V. Sedation provides this deeper sleep state, which is often referred to as “twilight sleep.” Although I.V. sedation has a longer recovery, it erases memory of the procedure and is safely administered by trained staff who use advanced monitoring equipment.
I also wrote a booklet: “Guide for the Fearful Dental Patient” for people who have varying levels of dental fear. This is downloadable from our website at: DrBarbatGuide. And, please get to know our comprehensive care environment where comfort is a priority at every visit through this brief video: DrBarbatSedation as well as one where I share my own childhood experience as a dental patient: DrBarbatShares
Paying for dental care can be a challenge for many Americans. We are sensitive to this and never want our patients to feel embarrassed about discussing financial concerns when it comes to their (or their family’s) dental care. We support this in several ways.
Our advanced technology, including Cone Beam imaging, TekScan and Laser Dentistry can often reduce treatment needs and shorten treatment time (while optimizing comfort). These features can pinpoint specific areas where problems lie so treatment can be more conservative, lessening the chance of over-treating.
We also make several payment plans available. For patients, the applications can be completed online or our Financial Coordinator (Venus) will be happy to help. These plans (including Care Credit, Lending Club, and Alphaeon Credit) are ideal for patients who wish to enjoy the benefits of a healthy, confident smile while making monthly, interest-free payments. Most payment plans require no down payment and extend the payments over long periods so the monthly amounts are manageable to most budgets.
Gagging can be embarrassing no matter where you are. I have a friend who gags at the sight of blood. Some people gag when they hear someone throw up. It’s a natural reflex that exists as a protective mechanism our bodies have to prevent choking.
Gagging in the dental office is not a rare occurrence. We’re used to it. Our clinical staff knows how to help patients relax or advise them on ways to minimize the reflex. But, we want you to know, first and foremost, that gagging isn’t something that should embarrass you. We know it’s just your body doing what it can’t help but do.
If you’re prone to gagging, let us know before your care begins. We’ll discuss ways to help minimize this or what we will do if it occurs. No problem.
For people who wear full dentures or partials, having these removed for dental visits can feel awkward for some. After all, the reason these appliances are worn is to restore the look of teeth that have been lost for eating and to improve appearance.
It may be helpful to know missing teeth are very common. Sixty-nine percent of adults ages 35 to 44 have lost at least one permanent tooth. By age 50, adults are missing an average of 12 teeth and 26% of those between the ages of 65 to 74 have lost all their teeth.
While our goal is to always help our patients retain natural teeth, caring for patients who are missing teeth that have been replaced by dentures, partials, crown-&-bridge, or dental implants are a big part of our day.
The goal, however, is to replace missing teeth as soon as they are lost. Each tooth is a helpmate in keeping neighboring teeth in their proper positions. When a tooth is lost, leaving the space open can cause surrounding teeth to tilt, lean or elongate. These movements can ultimately result in bite misalignment.
An improperly aligned bite is a leading cause for TMJ disorders. As a neuromuscular dentist, I see the many problems that result from strain placed upon the jaw joints because of misaligned teeth. This can cause headaches, sore jaw joints, facial pain, dizziness, ear ringing, sore neck and shoulder muscles, difficulty opening the mouth fully and worn or chipped teeth.
Finally, for people who have a mouthful of cavities, missing teeth, or have avoided dental care for many years, our Shelby Twp dental office offers a welcoming, respectful environment. We like to refer to our office as a “judgement free zone!” It is a great compliment to be chosen as the preferred dental office by someone who has many needs and has taken a significant step to their oral wellness. (Tour our office by viewing: DrBarbatOfficeTour)
When a patient has a long list of oral health needs, we try to pace treatment according to the patient’s schedule and comfort as well as what is affordable. We do not judge patients for things like smoking, alcohol use, or being neglectful of their dental health over the years. For every patient, we know there is support that can improve and restore a smile.
Whatever your need, we know there is a solution. But, taking the first step begins by just that, the first step in calling, scheduling an exam or consult online, or getting to know us through videos that give a more clear picture of what we’re about and our commitment to our patients.
Call 586-739-2155 to learn more.