What To Expect From Your Macomb County Dentist During A Dental EmergencyMany people are overcoming their dental phobias by getting routine dental check-ups done. During these check-ups, patients are having their teeth cleaned, cavities filled, or veneers placed with relative ease. But what if the moment that most people dread happens and you have a painful dental emergency that needs to be treated immediately?

While we all hope to never have a dental emergency of our own, it’s always a great idea to understand what to do if one happens and what to expect during your visit to the dentist.

What is Considered a Dental Emergency?

A dental emergency is any dental problem that requires immediate treatment to save a tooth, alleviate severe pain, or stop bleeding. Even if you tell yourself, it’s just a toothache, you shouldn’t have to live with the pain for weeks until you schedule an appointment. Instead, reach out to your dentist and let them know you’re having a dental emergency. This is particularly important because some infections that cause tooth pain can spread and cause life-threatening infections like sepsis.

What to Do During a Dental Emergency?

The very first course of action during a dental emergency is to call your dentist and explain what’s happening. If your issue isn’t something that can be treated in office, it’s important to find that out prior to driving to your dentist’s office. In the case of a tooth that’s fallen out, your dentist’s office can give you tips to help preserve your tooth until it can be placed again.

Keep in mind that when you’re going to the dentist for a dental emergency, it’s a good idea to have someone drive you. If your dental emergency requires a procedure to correct it, driving may be difficult afterward. Having a family or friend drive you to your dentist can save you the hassle of having to call a ride service home.

What You Can Expect At An Emergency Dental Visit

You may be apprehensive about calling your dentist’s office and telling them you need to be seen immediately. However, there are a few things you can expect when you call us here at The Gentle Dentist.

  1. Expect an understanding staff! We understand that tooth pain can be unbearable or that unforeseen emergencies happen. There’s no reason to be ashamed about coming in for a dental emergency. You can expect that we’ll work with you to get you the treatment you need in a timely manner.
  1. Expect a thorough work-up. In order to alleviate the pain or resolve the dental emergency, it’s important to get to the root of the problem. This may involve questions about what happened, x-rays, and an exam by your dentist.
  1. Expect that we’ll do everything in our power to help. In many cases, dental emergencies require a dental procedure of some sort. You can expect us to perform necessary procedures to alleviate pain or save your tooth.

Any emergency can be a scary ordeal. The best course of action is to be prepared and know how to react in an emergency. Remember, if you’re experiencing a dental emergency in the Macomb area, give The Gentle Dentist a call at (586) 247-3500!



Macomb County Dentist Discusses Emergency Dental Care

Hi this is Dr. Robert Antolak from thegentledentist.com. We are located in Shelby Township, Michigan. That’s Macomb County, right here in Michigan. Our office phone number is 586-247-3500. What I’d like to discuss is what happens, if you have a traumatic blow to a tooth. If you are a child, or if you are an adult, what should you do about it?

If this has happened to you, and you’re watching this for the first time, please, just give your dentist a call right now. The first thing you can do is, if you have that tooth available, try to gently rinse it off with water or maybe in some milk. If you can, try place it right back in that socket, where the injury took place.

If you look at an adjacent tooth to where that one came out, just match what it looks like and just push it gently up into the socket. It’s the best thing you could do if there’s an injury.

You want to get into your dentist in less than forty-five minutes, to prevent any further damage that would not be reversible.

Most injuries that take place are basically when the tooth fractures. The tooth stays into the bone and all the impact takes place on the crown part of the tooth.

If it fractures like that, try to look for that piece that broke off. If it’s at all possible to find that piece it’s really important. The reason why it’s important is when you go to your dentist, we can approximate exactly where that fractured part of the tooth broke off.  We have bonding agents that are so thin, that we can literally take the piece that’s there and bond it directly onto the fractured portion of that tooth. And that will many times, look really good, very natural. And sometimes, it can have a long term, successful result. So that’s if a decent part of the tooth is broken off.

If the nerve is exposed at that point, when you go to the dentist, you would more than likely have to remove that nerve out of that tooth because the nerve will go bad. This can be fixed by either using the fractured fragment of the tooth that broke off, or rebuild it with a tooth colored bonding material.

So that’s when the injury takes place just on the crown part of the tooth.

Next, if an injury takes place and that tooth is loose, but it’s still in the socket, if at all possible, before it starts to heal , try to push that tooth up into that correct location, okay?

Don’t over-correct it, but try to put it right into that same spot. What is happening is hemorrhaging is going on.  Bleeding, trauma, and inflammation will start developing. So if you can place it up there you can displace some of that blood. If you can do that, you’ll get the tooth into the right place.

For example, this has become loose. It doesn’t fall out, but it is just loose. If you can just take it and just push it straight up into there and just hold it like that. That would be very helpful to do that. Because the root is not exposed really to the atmosphere, it still remains sterile at that point we just push it back in. Then get to the dentist and they can probably do something to help bond that to the adjacent teeth.

Now that’s if the tooth is loose. If the tooth does come out completely, like this, find out exactly where it goes in the mouth. You can usually see where it is. The front teeth look more like chisels than anything. And there’s a root that sits right there. And that root structure will go right into that area, and just push it straight back in.

If you cannot do that, if possible, you would want to store the tooth in milk or if it’s not too young of a child, just put it in the lip part of the mouth. You just hold it there until you get into the dentist. Get to the dentist as soon as you possibly can.

The reason why it’s important to do that is because there are elastic fibers that attach the tooth structure to the bone, right along that root surface of that tooth. If these dry out, you’re going to lose that tooth for sure.  But if they stay moist, usually in milk, or natural saliva, once it goes in place, it will stay there.

If you are at an athletic event you can talk to your coach and see if they have a certain solution that can store a tooth right in there. Get to the dentist and many times it can be successful to re-transplant that tooth.  Once in the office, it can usually be bonded to the adjacent teeth for a certain period of time, but not too long.  Then sometimes they have to do root canals to remove the nerve out of that tooth.

Macomb County Dentist Discusses Emergency Dental Care

So there’s a number of different things to do. But the one important thing is to try to get to the dentist as soon as you can. So if there are any questions, please give us a call 586-247-3500. And we’ll see what we can do to help you out. Thank you. Have a great day. God bless.

What to do if you have a dental emergency

Hi, this is Dr. Antolak from TheGentleDentist.com in Shelby Township, Michigan. And today I’d like to talk to you about dental emergencies.

For us right now it’s the beginning of the summer and the summer time becomes potentially a lot of accidents or some accidents for children. And what I want to do is just to talk briefly about what to do if you have a dental emergency.

Many of the accidents that can take place lets say the child is on their bicycle and they hit a bump or something happens they tumble off the bike and they hit the pavement. Or they’re running along running and all of sudden they trip and they fall and they crack a tooth.

What is the best thing to do if you have a dental emergency? So I want to address a couple of things. First thing is if a tooth breaks off lets say a tooth cracks and it’s just a break like that but the tooth is still in place and stable, what I would suggest is look for that segment of the tooth that fell off.

What we can do many times with the patient coming in, we can bond in that segment of that tooth to the other part just using a thin bonding agent and literally like super glue almost it adheres from one to the other and many times that’s all that’s necessary.  That’s a very simple type of thing to do. But the important thing is to find that piece of tooth and give us a call right away.

The other more serious problem is when there will be a different level.  It’s called dental avulsion when the bone fragment do that and the tooth can fall out. It’s important at that point in time is to find the tooth. Okay? Find the tooth, and what you want to try to do is to get it right back in the socket. You can just gently, you know, a possibility is to have the child, in the mouth, just kind of, take off if there’s any dirt on it or anything like that, just to do that and just to remove some of that dirt and then try to put the tooth right back into that socket, right where it came out.

And because the reason why that is, is that there is an attachment called the periodontal ligament that separates out. And also the nerve, and the arteries and everything that feed the tooth. They come out with that when the tooth comes out. So the faster you can get the tooth back into the mouth, the better it is, better chance there is for these to reattach, reattach from the tooth to the bone.

The reason why we don’t really want to scrub the tooth to disinfect or use anything like that on it is because those will kill off the periodontal ligament. Iit’ll affect that attachment and will not allow this reassertion to be effective.

Okay if you can’t figure out how to do that you can store it in milk and then get to the dentist within a 1/2 hour so I know it’s the faster it is the better it is the faster you get tooth put in the better it is that’s the best thing.

Second best is if you as a parent have it. Put that tooth actually in your mouth. If you’ve got no other choice you want to keep it hydrated.  You want to keep it wet and damp until you get to the dentist.  He can insert the tooth back into the socket and then he can fix it. We bond it to the adjacent teeth for the short term.  And then go from there.

Sometimes, teeth can do a partial dental avulsion where it comes out, and it’s sticking out of place. Not totally loose, but sticking out of place. Once again, if it’s possible just to push that tooth back into the socket. I know it’s gonna hurt, but try to get that before the blood starts flowing where it came out, but get that in there, and the likelihood that’s gonna heal well is, is, pretty darn good.

What to do if you have a dental emergency

The important thing is getting to your dentist immediately, so by the time you’re done listening to this. Too late, you should have been calling your dentist. But, for dental emergencies, that’s what is important,  You can give us a call if you have any questions about that or even if something happens, give us a call.  586-247-3500. If during that time we’re not in the office you have the opportunity to reach me on my cell phone, which I always carry and I almost always answer. So you can reach me that way too. So if there’s any questions about that please give us a call.

Thank you.

Hi this is Dr. Antolak from thegentledentist.com in Shelby Township, Michigan, 586-247-3500 is our phone number. And today I’m holding a little mannequin of teeth and the cool thing about this is that these teeth come out okay? And the purpose of what I want to talk about today is dental emergencies that happen from traumatic events can take place anytime from riding a bicycle to playing hockey, to baseball, anything like that. And, what can happen is a number of different levels of things can take place. And what I want to do is talk to you about those from the simple to the more complex. First of all, the simple would be if, for example, if a child is on a bicycle, fall and let’s say, a part of their adult tooth breaks off. The little piece of a shard of the tooth comes off and a part of it. It’s best to recover that little piece first, and then keep it in water. And the reason why that is, is if you come to our office right away, not all offices are like this. But if you come right away and contact us, I can take that little piece and segment and, literally, we can bond them together with an adhesive material. And many times it goes fine for a long period of time, and it matches best. It’s best if you could try to recover that small piece, and then deal with that. Even if it’s a larger piece, if you can try to recover whatever fell, or came out. And when you call our office, then we can use that, a lot of times, to help it look the best and blend in.

And the worst case situation is when you have a traumatic accident where the tooth actually falls out. We’ve seen plenty of those cases. So, if that tooth comes out, then what the first, important thing to do is that we want to try to get that in the mouth as soon as possible, back into the socket itself. If you can, try to, if you have access to some water, just kind of rinse it off just to get the dirt and debris off. Then place that right back into that socket how it came out, is if you could orient it, the better it is you can orient it. So, a good idea is to look at the opposite side of the tooth that fell out and see how the tooth is oriented. Either his teeth are shaped like this and this goes towards the lip site here. This part here is concave like that or convex. That goes toward the lip side. The concave part goes towards the tongue side. And so when you consider that try to put that in as quickly as possible. If it’s impossible to do that or there’s too much trauma taken place you can put that into milk if you have to. There are actually solutions that are out there that could be used to store teeth that have fallen out and I know last for quite some time. Like I said, the best place to do is to put it, don’t let it moisten out, don’t scrub it. There are specific attachments that attach to the tooth itself, and we don’t want to rub those off. That’s what’s important about giving that to reattach. And then call your dentist right away. If they have an emergency phone line, call right away and see if you can get in from that and if you don’t our phone number’s 586-247-3500 and our office is if you call that number and hit extension 4, it will be directly sent to my cell phone and I will answer that call. Other problems that could take place in that is a tooth with just kind of fall it will loosen up a little bit. But as long as it can stay, keep that tooth in that socket as much as you can and locate the tooth a little bit. Try to, if you can, if it’s possible, after it happens, try to push that tooth into a spot and just leave it until you can, can get into the office. And what we’ll do is we’ll secure like a little wire around that tooth and try to just bond it to the adjacent teeth just to keep it stable long enough so we can start to re-attach. Anyway if there are any questions you have. If you do have an emergency you give us a call at 586 247-3500. If it’s after hours hit the number 4. If you don’t get a hold of me right away just leave a message and we will call you back as soon as we can. Thank you and have a great day.

Shelby Township, Michigan Dentist Discusses Dental Emergencies

Hi, this is Dr. Antolak from The Gentle Dentist in Shelby Township, Michigan. What I’d like to do is speak to you about emergency dental care. At our office, we try to make ourselves available to those people who are having dental emergencies. And normally, dental emergencies happen at the most inopportune time. So if you’re trying to reach us during off hours we’ll definitely get back with you as soon as we can.

Dental emergencies are basically two or three different types of emergencies. One is traumatic, and that is if you get into accidents of some sort where you can break off your tooth and then you see either have that repaired or if you have an emergency with tooth actually falls out. Rinse that out and place it right back into that socket that where it came from. That’s the best of taking care of your problem with that. The other type of dental emergencies that we do have are when someone has had a filling missing or a big hole in the mouth. And all of a sudden, the thing develops into a bad toothache. Well that toothache is from the bacteria that’s in the mouth getting to the nerve. And then it goes from the nerve into the bone. And as it gets into the bone, it creates an infection, and that infection creates pressure inside of the jawbone. And that’s a dental emergency that gets that taken care of.

And the third type’s is where you normally see is where somebody has gum disease and they have bone loss around their teeth. Well they might get some food caught in that area or even around wisdom teeth, where food gets caught in that area, and blows the wisdom teeth up. It hurts and then they have to have something to deal with the pain. There’s a few different ways of dealing with emergencies that do take place over the counter remedies are obviously pretty limited.  But the most important thing is to get the dentist as quickly as possible.

So, if you have an emergency and you can wait to go to the dentist. We’d love to see you. Give us a call at 586-247-3500. If it’s a true emergency, and needs immediate attention, you might want to get to your local hospital call them.

Thank you and have a blessed day.

The Gentle Dentist Discusses Emergency Dental Care in Shelby Township, Michigan

At www.TheGentleDentist.com we realize that many have had bad experiences in their past at the dental office.  Typically 5-10 years go by and the high fear patient finally gets to the point of where they can’t stand their oral pain any longer.  This is when they do research on the internet with a desire to find a dentist who specializes in treating the high fear patient who has not been into the dentist for  years.  With a search on Google for “dentists for chickens”, “dentist for the fearful patient” or “dentistry for the dental phobic” we usually come up high on the search engines especially when looking for the Shelby Twp., Macomb Township, Sterling Heights or Washington Township Michigan areas.  After reading through our web site they find it comfortable enough to get the will power to at least email us. 

After they talk to Jessica our scheduling coordinator and make their appointment they will receive electronic health history questionaires to fill our in the convenience of their own home.  The day before their appointment I will call them up to introduce myself.  Because dentistry requires a high level of trust I like to introduce myself to them and see if they have any questions or concerns.  Many times they will give me a history of their horrific experiences at the previous dentist.  These are usually experienced as a child so we try to work through the issues slowly to eventually proceed with the exam.  We will only proceed when they are willing to do so.   

The mouth is an extremely personal space.  Most people don’t want others (including the dentist) to see their embarassing smile because of darkened teeth, missing teeth, cavities or bad gums.  Up to this point it has been their little “secret” and to go beyond that “secret” it is very difficult.  Most often they will say “I’m so embarassed of my teeth” or “I should have been in here years ago”.  The good news is that there is only room for improvement and what has happened in the past has been in the past.  Our goal is to move them beyond the past and to look forward to their future healthy and good looking smile. 

Another issue that has kept them from regular dental check ups is that they fear that they will get scolded or lectured to.  I always reassure them that it is my responsibility to inform them of their situation and we will work together as a team to move.  Lecturing will never work and has never been something that I have done and will never do. 

These are some of the personal things we do at www.TheGentleDentist.com to make the visit for our high fear patient one that can be tolerated and even appreciated.  If you have questions please call our Shelby Township office at (586)247-3500.

Mouth Breathing and its effect on your body

I was sleeping the day after Thanksgiving and at 3:00 am our 5 year old son Matthew woke me up and said he couldn’t sleep because he couldn’t breathe through his nose. I dragged myself out of bed and used my mother’s old remedy which was to put Vick’s vapor rub on his chest and some under his nose. This seemed to work for him quite well except now I was awake. At 3:10 am I started to think about the oral effects I have observed from chronic allergies and “stuffed noses”. This seemed to be a relevant topic that I haven’t addressed in the past. When researching this topic, I became aware of all the benefits of normal breathing through the nose. Of course mouth breathing can lead to the snoring and sleep apnea. If interested, you can visit our website information blog at www.TheGentleDentist/blog/ and type in snoring. This will lead you to past articles on this topic.

Mouth breathing:

  1. Can increase asthma, high blood pressure, heart disease and other medical problems
  2. Reduces the levels of oxygen exchange in the blood/lung interface. The lungs extract oxygen from the air we breathe primarily on the exhale. Because the nostrils are smaller then the mouth, air exhaled through the nose creates back pressure when one exhales. It slows the air escape so the lungs have more time to extract oxygen from them.
  3. During sleep, it predisposes one to loud snoring and irregular breathing and can lead to a serious condition called Sleep Apnea and heart conditions.


Nose Breathing:

  1. Proper nose breathing reduces high blood pressure or hypertension and stress for most people. Kind of like a speed control (governor) on a car engine.
  2. The nostrils and sinuses filter and warm the air going into the lungs. The mouth breather bypasses this.
  3. Maintaining a keen sense of smell is very important for enjoying life and for safety and social acceptance.  There are receptors in the nose, known as olfactory bulbs, are direct extensions of a part of the brain known as  the hypothalamus. This extension regulates the heartbeat, blood pressure, thirst, appetite, and of course, the cycles of sleeping a waking. The hypothalamus is also responsible for generating chemicals that influence memory and emotion.
  4. Lessening of the common cold is another good reason for nose breathing. The mucous (white blood cells that kill germs) membrane lining the nose extends all the way from the inner linings of the nostrils down the trachea to the bronchi the directly enters the lungs. Germs get caught and die in the mucous.

Long term mouth breathers experience difficulty in swallowing pills, increased gagging response, increased mucous production and other difficulties.

Mouth breathers do not adjust the way they swallow as an infant.  Typically infants project their tongues out to swallow and transition at around 8 months old so that their tongue is positioned along the top of their palate when swallowing.  Pacifiers and thumb sucking also affects the tongue position during the developmental years. If they aren’t removed early enough the tongue continues to push out beyond the front teeth preventing normal jaw and teeth development.  The relationship of the upper and lower teeth is also affected since they have to accommodate the tongue.  I have seen in adult patients the affects of this and it is almost impossible to change the jaws without surgery.  They usually have an open bite on their front teeth so that when they bite together the front top teeth don’t overlap the lower front teeth.  This is not cosmetically appealing and it has negative effects on the health of the jaw joint.

Allergies also are responsible for the mouth breathing tendencies.  The pharynx (back of throat) swells blocking off the nasal passage preventing smooth airflow through the nose.  It is important to determine what children are allergic to as soon as possible so that the destructive forces of mouth breathing are minimized.

As an adult it is best to retrain yourself to nose breathe during the day.  There are devices you can put in your mouth at night to retrain your tongue and help with nose breathing.  In fact, I had a patient the other day who was having a very difficult time breathing.  His CPAP breathing machine wasn’t functioning properly and I had him a Breathe Rite Strip to enlarge his nasal passage.  He was shocked at the difference he felt and the ease in which he could breathe.

Our human bodies have been designed so intricately that the smallest change in our function can effect so many other facets of how we function and our overall health.  If you have any questions please call me at (586)247-3500 or email me at DrAntolak@TheGentleDentist.com

Dr. Antolak treats his dental patients in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere where you are treated like a guest in the home.  He specializes in cosmetic dentistry, implant dentistry and general dentistry using sedation dentistry if necessary for his high fear patients. He has been treating patients for the past 21 years.

As a reminder: The thermostats are being turned up and it is a good idea to have a humidifier in you room where  you sleep since this significantly helps with dry mouth, sore throats, and adds to the efficiency of heating your home.  I was reminded of this at a recent visit to a nursing home and recommended that a humidifier would help increase the comfort of sleeping for the patient.

Mouth Breathing and its effect on your body


Shelby Dentist, Dr. Robert AntolakThis month I would like to discuss another dental issue and problem that many people (approximately 40 Million Americans) suffer with: Sensitive teeth.

Teeth are composed of enamel on the outside and the dentin which lies just under the enamel. Dentin contains very small tubes that have fluid in them.  When hot, cold, chemicals such as whitening agents or sweets pass by the surface of the dentin on the exposed roots and edges of teeth it moves the fluid in the micro tubes and this causes the pain by stimulating the nerve.  So when pain is felt it is actually an indirect contact with the nerve through this system and not a direct touching of the nerve.

The following are the most frequent causes of tooth sensitivity:

  • Brushing with excessive pressure with hard toothbrush bristles. Over time this aggressive act will take away the gum tissue, the bone and then the tooth leading to exposed root dentin which will make the teeth sensitive.  The use of a soft toothbrush using a gentle circular motion aiming at the gumline is the best way to safely brush the teeth without harm. I am often asked what is the best toothbrush?   I say a soft manual brush or even better is an electric brush like the Sonicare.  They are gentle on the teeth and effective on plaque removal while infusing oxygen into the plaque which helps to kill the bacteria between the teeth.
  • Periodontal disease will cause bone loss around the teeth giving the “long in the teeth” appearance. Some people falsely believe that this is a part of the natural aging process but it isn’t.  Periodontal disease is caused by a bacterial invasion under the gum line which eventually causes the bone to be lost.  Smokers and uncontrolled diabetics are the ones who are most likely to be diagnosed with this disease.
  • Grinding of the teeth from stress can create loss of bone and tooth structure where the root meets the gum. This is called an abfraction and is like a deep notch in the tooth.  When one grinds their teeth the teeth flex and under the right conditions these notches can deepen and become sensitive.  A small guard can prevent this from happening and an evaluation is necessary to make sure the bite is proper.  Sometimes it may be necessary to adjust the bite.
  • Abrasive toothpastes such as those containing baking soda can be harmful and abrade the tooth roots.
  • Acidic foods and beverages such as soft drinks can cause tooth pain by decaying the tooth. I had a patient recently ask me if lemon in the water can cause the sensitive teeth because she was using a lot of lemon.  This certainly increases the acid level in the mouth and causes them to be sensitive. Acid reflux especially at night is a contributing factor in that the stomach acid is very strong which leads to loss of enamel.  Bulimia  also makes the teeth exposed to the strong acids in the stomach, leading to really sensitive teeth.

These are the most common causes that lead to sensitive teeth.  Treatment includes such things as: fluoride rinses at home, tooth pastes such as Sensodine, Renamel and a number of other toothpastes which have a chemicals in them that literally “clogs” up the small microtubes in the dentin.  When these get “clogged up” they can’t transmit the fluid within the micro tubes and pain is reduced.  We have stronger “clogging agents”  that can be applied in the office which can make a significant difference in pain.   You must remember that  hard tooth brushing and acids will dissolve the reparative plugs that are formed so it is necessary to change the habits that have created the sensitive teeth in the first place.  It is best to visit your dentist to have this evaluated.  If you don’t have a current dental home then I would be happy to evaluate your situation so give us a call at (586)247-3500.

About The Author

Dr. Robert Antolak, DDS graduated from the University of Michigan in 1987 with his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree. He is dedicated to providing the highest quality and appropriate cosmetic, sedation and general dentistry in the most comfortable and gentle way possible. Because being a dentist has been a lifelong dream, Dr. Antolak has a passion for the profession. He enjoys helping people feel better about their smiles and therefore their self-image with dental implant and cosmetic dentistry. His Dental Practice is located in Shelby Township, Michigan.  For more information visit The Gentle Dentist.

Dentistry can bring on night sweats, rapid heart beat, hyperventilation and all of the symptoms of a huge anxiety rush.  This type of feeling is usually felt before a dental appointment for those who have had bad experiences.

These bad events can stay with people for decades.  The level of fear can last for many years because the fear is ingrained into that person’s memory.  Because we deal with very close spaces and are directly in one of the most sensitive and personal areas on the human body trust must be one of the most importent issues that the dental patient must have.

Modern dentistry has equipped ourselves to deal with these issues to make visits much more comfortable.  For example, we use sedation to put people in a state where they have no memory of their procedure and are very relaxed when they get to the office and during the procedures.  It also allows for them to get many services done at one visit so they don’t have to continually return to our office.  Another option is to plug in a DVD into our virtual reality glasses and watch a movie.

It is critical to have dental procedures pain free.  Anesthetics properly administered do a great job in controlling pain and therefore anxiety, and as a result trust starts to become developed.

Because fear comes from a loss of control it is very important that you are in complete control of the procedure and have a way of stopping if you need a break or are in pain and in need of additional anesthesia.

Anxiety stems from fear of the unknown and when you are not sure the anxiety increases.  It is also very helpful if all of your questions are answered when you need additional information.

Because relationships are so important and can’t be stressed enough we have personal interviews with the patient so that their needs are met and so that there are no misunderstandings.

Please don’t let your bad experiences affect your present condition. Modern dentistry emphasizes prevention over all other things so do yourself a favor and don’t delay this any longer.   Your needs will be met and you will be comfortable having treatment as this is my promise. You will be amazed at how easy and user friendly dental care can be.

It is easier said than done, but don’t be embarrassed if you haven’t been to a dentist in years and are afraid of past judgments from the dentist.   A modern dentist will help you look forward to your future care and would never lecture you.

About The Author

Dr. Robert Antolak, DDS graduated from the University of Michigan in 1987 with his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree. He is dedicated to providing the highest quality and appropriate cosmetic, sedation and general dentistry in the most comfortable and gentle way possible. Because being a dentist has been a lifelong dream, Dr. Antolak has a passion for the profession. He enjoys helping people feel better about their smiles and therefore their self-image with dental implant and cosmetic dentistry. His Dental Practice is located in Shelby Township, Michigan.  For more information visit The Gentle Dentist.

The effects of cancer treatment on the mouth can be quite severe!

Most people realize the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy which are hair loss and nausea, but 1 out of 3 people develop problems with the mouth during and even after treatment.  These complications such as dry mouth or life threatening infections may interfere with cancer treatment or diminish the quality of living and eating. It is therefore important to have a qualified dentist as part of the oncology team who can manage and prep the patient’s mouth in anticipation of these complications.  This preoperative care for the cancer treatment is a vital part in a comprehensive approach to overall patient comfort and satisfaction.

Cancer treatment kills fast growing cells and saliva producing cells are one of the fast growing types.  As a result, cancer patients can have extremely dry mouths eliminating the lubrication, re-mineralization, and healing enzyme properties of saliva.

Dental cavities, infection of the soft tissues, periodontal disease and other dental diseases are exacerbated and made worse when saliva is either reduced or eliminated.  Therefore it is critical to involve your qualified dentist to treat decay with fillings, treat periodontal disease, extract hopeless teeth and either remake or reline poorly fitting dentures.

If at all possible your first dental visit should be at least 1 month before cancer treatment begins to give the treating dentist enough time to complete treatment.  Once the cancer treatment begins it is too late to have the dental work done because the bodies healing capacity and ability to fight off infections is greatly reduced if not stopped.

Since the mouth is full of disease causing bacteria any potential dental problem that can be foreseen should be treated immediately with enough time to heal completely (around 14 days) before cancer treatment is started.  Open wounds, infected teeth and the like can be seeds to serious problems.  Any elective oral surgery such as implant placement should be postponed until after cancer treatment is completed.  Soft plastic trays can be used to hold fluoride to prevent tooth decay.  These are to be used during the night to re-mineralize the teeth.

The diagnosis of cancer is devastating for everyone involved and there are both emotional and physical aspects that must be dealt with right away.  Involving the dentist as part of your care isn’t usually considered, but is critical.  Since time is of the essence, being told to wait a week for a dental appointment isn’t acceptable to me.  If your dentist isn’t willing to either alter his/her schedule or come in on their day off you may want to contact our office for an immediate appointment.  For more information on what a patient should do before, during and after cancer treatment you can call our office at (586) 247-3500 for a free reprinted brochure from the National Institute of Health.  You can also visit their website at Http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/OralHealth/cancertreatment

Even if you have questions about this topic or if you or a loved one is to be starting cancer therapy you can call me or visit the office to discuss your questions.

If you are involved with a cancer support group and would like to have me speak to them about oral care before, during and after cancer therapy you can email me at DrAntolak@TheGentleDentist.com.

I am also available to talk with support groups or even patients who are about to begin cancer treatment.

Question: I have a tremendous amount of fear when it comes to going to the dentist.    It has gotten to the point where I have to go and don’t know what to do.  Help!!!!

Answer:  You and many other patients come in to see us with this exact problem.  Past visits at the dentist have in some circumstances “paralyzed”  patients with hear and then put off appointments for years.  These bad and usually very traumatic experiences can stay with people for decades.  In fact I saw a patient the other day who was in his 80s and he could remember every detail of a visit when he was a child that kept him from visiting the dentist for over 60 years.

Modern dentistry has responded to these issues to make visits much more comfortable.  For example, we use sedation to put people in a state where they have no memory of their procedure and are very relaxed when they get to the office.  It also allows for them to get many procedures done at one visit so they don’t have to continually return to our office.  Another option is to watch a movie on our virtual reality glasses.  Dental procedures fly by while you watch your favorite movie.

It is critical to have dental procedures pain free.  Anesthetics properly administered do a wonderful job in controlling pain and therefore anxiety, which means injecting slowly with compassion using topical anesthetic before the injection eliminates the prick from an injection.

Because fear comes from a loss of control it is very important that you are in complete control of the procedure and have a way of stopping if you need a break or are in pain and in need of additional anesthesia.

Anxiety arises from fear of the unknown and when you are expecting pain the anxiety even heightens even more.  It is also very helpful if all of your questions are answered when you need additional information.

At TheGentleDentist.com we take the time to know our patients to the point where they feel comfortable because it is like seeing an old friend.  These relationships are important and can’t be stressed enough.

Please don’t let your bad experiences affect your present condition. Modern dentistry emphasizes prevention over all other things so do yourself a favor and don’t delay this any longer.   You will be amazed at how easy and user friendly dental care can be.  Also don’t be embarrassed if you haven’t been to a dentist in years and are afraid of past judgments from the dentist.   A modern dentist will help you look forward to your future care and would never lecture you.

At www.TheGentleDentist.com  we provide all phases of dentistry including cosmetic dentistry, dental implants and general dentistry for the entire family.  What is necessary with all our treatments is to get the potential patient into the chair.  This may seem obvious, but I can tell you of many who have avoided the dentist because of their intense fear of the dentist.  This fear is typically generated as a young child who had no say so on their care.  The dentist usually hurt them and they just had to endure the pain no matter how intense it was.  Being a child or even as an adult these patients were at the mercy of someone they feared.   After this horrible experience they make an agreement with themselves that they will NEVER, NEVER put themselves in this postion again.   After many years of internally battling with themselves to go to the dentist a situation will present such as a bad toothache or a broken front tooth  and they have no choice but to see the dentist.  And that is when we or other modern caring dentists come into play:

At our office we truly understand these fears and work at a pace appropriate to our patient to create a positive experience.Oral conscious sedation is a great way to have hours of dentistry done in one visit.   With the use of a small sleeping pill taken 1 hour before your dental appointment you will have virtually no memory of the procedure.  If you are:

  • Nervous from similar a bad experiences as described above and said “I will never go back to the dentist again”
  • Have a difficult time with gagging
  • Need a lot of dental procedures done but don’t have the time to return over and over again to get it done.
  • Need multiple procedures such as crown, extractions, root canals and implant placement done and you don’t want to go to multiple dental offices. 
  • The truth is that you don’t have to wait any more.

Dr. Antolak has been providing cosmetic, implant, sedation and general dentistry for the last 22 years so give us a call now for your free consultation at (586)247-3500 or visit our website at www.TheGentleDentist.com.  Our office is in Shelby Twp. MI.

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