By: Jessica Wendt, RDH – The Gentle Dentist
If you are scared to go to the dentist, you are not alone. It is estimated that about 30-40 million Americans have some type of dental anxiety or phobia. This can stem from negative past experiences, pain, embarrassment, or a feeling of not being in control. Some people are even scared to have a simple healthy mouth teeth cleaning. Yet, most of the time it is the more extensive dental work that causes people to be extremely nervous. Many times patients do not fully understand what is being done so their mind is left to wander. Some commonly feared dental procedures will be addressed below and tips on how to cope.
- Root Canal – The dreaded root canal. These two words alone cause most people to cringe but why? Most of the time it is because of a past experience where a root canal was painful. A root canal needs to be performed on a damaged or an infected tooth where the nerve is dying off. It is a procedure where the nerve tissue in the root of the tooth is removed and the nerve space is filled with a substance to seal it off. The tooth will then have a permanent filling placed and may also need to be crowned. If the tooth does have an active infection, it may be harder to get the tooth fully numb or it may require more anesthetic than normal. In some cases, a round of antibiotics a few days prior to the root canal appointment can lessen the infection, which in turn will lead to better numbness for the tooth. With proper anesthesia, a root canal should feel no different than a regular filling.
- Tooth Extractions – No one usually looks forward to having a tooth extracted. Extractions tend to be a dentist’s last resort because having a full set of teeth is important for many reasons. A tooth may need to be extracted if it is beyond repair, painful, and a source of infection. Also, wisdom teeth may need to be electively extracted if they are impacted or very hard to keep clean. If an extraction is a must, the dentist will give adequate anesthesia so no pain is felt. There will be pressure at times, but there should not be any pain. If there is pain, make sure there is a signal that can be given so the dentist can stop and give more numbing medication. There may be some minimal post-operative bleeding, but do not let this alarm you. The dentist will give you warning signs on when to contact him or her for continued bleeding or pain.
- Dental Implants – Dental implants are becoming more common in modern day dentistry to replace missing teeth. However, most people squirm at the idea of it. A dental implant is a titanium post that is surgically placed in the bone. The bone will heal and integrate into the threads of the post. Once this healing takes place, the post can be restored with a crown making it look just like a natural tooth. The fear usually comes because an implant requires dental surgery, but most patients are unaware that the bone around the teeth does not have nerve endings. The dentist will still give adequate anesthesia to numb the gum tissues where the post will be placed, but the bone itself will not be in any pain so to speak. From patient testimonies, it sounds like dental implants feel just like a normal tooth if not better, and there usually isn’t a noticeable difference between the two.
What to do for moderate to extreme dental fear?
If just numbing the tooth is not enough to calm your nerves, there is more a dentist can do to help ease dental anxiety. Most dentists have nitrous oxide gas in the office to help with relaxation. It was commonly referred to as laughing gas, but most people tend to relax and not laugh when they are on it. The gas is mixed with oxygen and then is inhaled by the patient through a nosepiece. It does produce a mild sedative effect, which wears off within five minutes after it is done being used.
For more extreme fear, some dentists offer either oral conscious sedation or IV sedation. These types of sedation do require a driver to and from the dental appointment. The oral conscious sedation is administered through a series of anxiety-reducing medications taken the night before and day of the dental procedure. In IV sedation, the anxiety medication is given in an IV in your arm. You will be very sleepy and relaxed, but will still be able to respond to verbal commands if necessary. Both types do create an amnesia effect in which patients have little to no memory of the procedure. For additional information on sleep sedation, please visit our website at www.TheGentleDentist.com or call us at 586-247-3500. We look forward to hearing from you!
If the thought of your regular dentist visits gives you anxiety, you’re not alone. Surveys show that 9 to 15 percent of Americans, around 40 million people, face anxiety when it comes to their oral health. The severity may range from anxiety and stress to full blown panic attacks at the thought of going to their dental appointments.
Some common reasons people may get anxious at the thought of going to the dentist include:
- Fear of Pain. Many people are afraid that cleanings or procedures will cause discomfort or pain. In a survey of people who haven’t seen a dentist in over 12 months, 6% of people said fear of pain was the reason.
- Control Issues. For chronic sufferers of anxiety, situations where there is a loss of control is a major trigger. This is true for people who fear elevators, airplanes, and yes, leaning back in that dental chair.
- Past Experiences. Many people get anxious going to the dentist due to bad prior experiences. They may have had a painful experience in the past, and haven’t gone back, or seen the improvements made in the field of dentistry to help prevent those experiences.
- Many people feel embarrassed at the thought of someone closely examining their mouth, making them feel like all their faults are under a microscope. Oftentimes there is a particular dental issue that makes them feel self-conscious and unwilling to face a dentist. This forms a vicious cycle because avoiding dental exams may exacerbate the problem and make the person even more embarrassed than before.
Those are all normal reasons for feeling anxious, but they shouldn’t stop you from taking care of your oral health. For those people who are anxious at the thought of pain, there are methods to help reduce or eliminate those painful experiences. Many procedures are now done with lasers dentistry which can provide short, pain-free healing times. Making a point to maintain an oral health routine can help reduce sensitivity in the gums and the potential for pain, as well.
As far as feeling embarrassed, it’s important to understand that your dental team is not there to judge you. They care about your general health and understand that you’re nervous. Your dentist has seen many of the issues you may be embarrassed about and treated those issues with compassion. After all, they wouldn’t have picked a field based on a passion for helping people if they saw it any other way. Speak up about being nervous or embarrassed, and without a doubt, you will be treated with compassion rather than judgment.
If those reasons weren’t enough to help you ditch the dental anxiety, remember that your kids learn from watching you. You may be taking your kids to their regular dental visits, but if they see you blanching at the thought of going to your dental appointments, they may start to fear their own appointments. As adults, they may feel that same dental anxiety and embarrassment that you’re currently fighting. As parents, we want better for our kids and I’m sure we’d never want them to deal with the same fears and anxiety.
Remember, you’re not alone! Your dental team can help you with any dental anxiety you may have. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment, and see just how caring your dentistry can be, at (586) 247-3500!
I received this email the other day as a comment from the January 2015 column and thought it would be helpful to post it in this month’s column of Ask The Gentle Dentist:
“I read your article about dental anxiety in the senior newspaper today, and I want to thank you for writing it. Even though I have gone regularly to the same dentist for many, many years, I have never gone without extreme anxiety and I have never seen the topic addressed before today. Unfortunately I seem to have passed my dental anxiety on to 3 of our 4 children, and I deeply regret that! I’m saving your article and hoping that maybe it will be a first step in helping me better understand and deal with my anxiety. Thank you.”
As you can see, dental anxiety is real and can negatively affect not only the person but generations. There is no time like the present to overcome your dental fear by taking action NOW! Don’t let dental fear control you. If you have a current dentist you like set an appointment and if you don’t have a happy dental home give us a call. We understand the needs of the high anxiety dental patient. I tell those who are nervous of the dentist, “normal”.
Dental Anxiety – A common reason for avoiding needed dental visits
If you have questions or comments about dental anxiety please let me know so that I can constantly improve the information that I pass along to the readership. The office’s address is 15055 22 mile, Shelby Township, MI 48315
Our phone number is (586)247-3500 or email at DrAntolak @ TheGentleDentist.com.
Ask the Gentle Dentist January 2015
Legacy Planning and Dental Fear
Legacy Planning: At a recent event in Dallas I attended there was discussion on Legacy planning and how our lives can be used to positively affect others. When looking at our life timeline none of us will know when we will take our last breath. The key is to make the best out of the time God has given us on this planet to make a difference. No matter what decade of life we are in it is possible to make a positive influence on others. This is possible by giving that smile to one who needs a smile, a helping hand to one who is in need or donating your time, talents or treasures to a worthy cause that interests you. God gave us this life to be used and as we take our eyes off of ourselves and cast them on others there is a joy that will fill your heart. This is something that I would like for you to consider as we go into 2015. So GO and make a difference in another’s life and God will bless you for it.
This is a New Year. At this time I like to bring up one issue that reins in many of the people we see—Dental Anxiety. This is so prevalent that this topic that it is good to bring up as a New Year’s Resolution topic: Going to the dentist!
I would like to encourage those who are controlled by dental fear to read this article and to know that you are not alone. There are many people who have this incapacity and have avoided dental visits for years. Now is the time to take action so please take a step.
I was recently asked by a patient of ours who is a psychiatrist on how we treat those who have an incapacitating fear of the dentist. Our discussion went on to determine what is common with dental and other fears. She said it would be informative to post this in my monthly article and that it would be helpful to the readership.
I would like to start out by using Webster’s definition of fear: an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger. When I interview new patients who have avoided dental visits for years this is just about what they describe. They have personalized situations that took place at previous times in their lives which I think would be helpful to investigate. My goal for this article is to open up this taboo area and to let those who suffer from dental pain and are still avoiding the dentist because of their fear know that you are not alone.
I will use this definition and see how it relates to what I see in our office:
–an unpleasant often strong emotion: I can tell you that dental fear, like many fears are real from that persons perspective. Even if it seems silly or irrational to anyone else, it is real to that person’s experience. These emotions are very strong even to the point where it overrides the pain from a bad toothache.
Where do these strong emotions come from? From losing control to someone they can’t trust. I hear of horrible childhood experiences where the patient was overwhelmed by an insensitive and rude dentist. They either didn’t get numbed up or if they were it was inadequate to take care of their pain. I hear of situations where the child was slapped or hollered at. The majority of bad experiences took place when the individual was small and vulnerable. They were helpless and couldn’t do a thing about it except make a statement in their mind like “I will never put myself through anything like this again”. They continue through life with this thought in their mind every time they get a toothache, or reminded by a spouse that they need to get a dental cleaning.
–anticipation or awareness of danger: It is all about control. In the dental chair each person willingly gives all control over to someone who has the potential to hurt them with sharp instruments. Since the mouth is a very personal and extremely sensitive area on the human body, trust must be gained by the patient before they are willing to put themselves at risk again. This trust is something earned by creating a relationship between the patient and the dental professional. The trust factor must be strongly established especially with persons who have been traumatized by bad experiences. Sometimes it means just talking on the first visit in a non-threatening environment like our consultation room. To remove the feeling of danger it may be necessary to use relaxing techniques:
- one of my assistants Nelly or Nicole holding your hand or by
- using video glasses that allow you to watch a movie while having your dental treatment done
- Listening to music using our noise canceling headphones
- nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to relax you
- or even dream (sedation) dentistry which will allow you to have a lot of treatment in as little as one visit without memory of the visit and to be completely comfortable.
- Say a prayer over them to allow God to fill them with peace. He gives us peace so we just take advantage of what He provides.
We take these patients seriously and not judge their fear. If this above information describes you then I think it is important for the dentist you choose to go to to respect your feelings and fear and to not minimize it. This fear is real to all who have been through these bad experiences so we promise to not lecture or belittle those who have this constant burden. Fear can actually have control over oneself and it requires a group of compassionate professionals to work through it. These professionals may include psychologists, psychiatrists, dentists, hypnotists or physicians. If you are reading this and it describes you, then take action and make a call.
If you have any questions you can call our office just to talk at (586)247-3500, email at DrAntolak @ TheGentleDentist.com or visit our website at www.TheGentleDentist.com
You can also write Dr. Antolak, The Gentle Dentist at 15055 22 Mile #2, Shelby Township, MI 48315 for questions he can post in these Ask the Gentle Dentist articles.
No fear of the dentist at Shelby Township Dental Office
Dr. Antolak: Okay. This is Dr. Antolak from the gentledentist.com in Shelby Township, Michigan. And one thing that we do here is really try to take care of our dental patients needs. A lot of people come in with a large, huge fear of the dentist. Which we know is really a common thing. Many people have had some really bad experiences in the past. And we really try to do our best with every facet of the experience of going to the dentist.
At gentledentist.com we feel like we have the responsibility to make sure that when we do things comfortably. So Sherry had recognized this when I gave her an injection here at our dental office in Shelby Township, Michigan. And we really take the time to do some things to make it a positive experience. Sherry, could you just explain something’ that you had said before?
Dental Patient: Well, I was talking about how every time had to have my mouth numbed with that horrible needle. All previous dentists knew that I was going to be a pain. They knew I had a fear of the dentist. I would tense up, tears running down both sides of my face, it was horrible. The pain was absolutely horrible. Here I never feel it. I absolutely feel no pain, I’m not nervous coming here, I don’t tense up, there’s no tears, nothing. I just lay back and relax and no fear whatsoever. It’s so nice.
Dr. Antolak: Yeah, and it’s, so much of that has to do with trusting. Right? So you know that in the past that we’ve not hurt you. You come back again.
There’s no pain. It’s comfortable. So then we feel the positive experiences a little at a time with that tooth.
I’ve been in practice since 1987, and um, back I know 30 years ago. My instructor said if you want to do a good job on yourself he said numb yourself up. I numbed myself up in the very front which would be the most sensitive area. I learned how much it could really hurt and I always remember that when I’m giving injections to go slowly and do a good job in making sure people really feeling your body language.
Thank you so much for those kind words.
Dental Patient: You’re welcome.
Dr. Antolak: We appreciate that. If you have fear of the dentist and this is the kind of dental care that you would like to receive at our dental office in Shelby Township, Michigan. Please let us give us a call. Our phone number’s 586-247-3500. Thank you.
No fear of the dentist AT Shelby Township Dental Office
Shelby Township Dentist Offers Options for Fear
Hi this is Dr. Antolak from thegentledentist.com in Shelby Township, Michigan. Our phone number is (586) 247 3500. This is January of 2013 when I’m recording this. And we believe that it’s important in part of the New Year’s resolution process to include dentistry with some of their New Year’s resolutions. If you’ve been putting off dental care for a period of time, I believe it’s time to get over that fear and come and see us. And the reason why I say that is because we offer a fair number of solutions for you if this is something that you’ve been doing. If it’s about finances, we have some ways of doing some financing over a period of time. If it’s because you don’t have insurance, we have our general dental plan, which covers, two cleanings, two examinations, and as many extras as you need. And then you get 12% off of any additional services that you need and is only $247 a year. So that’s a very great value and it could get you through that excuse of not being able to have insurance. And so we want to help you transition that process too. If it’s nervousness and if you’re afraid of the dentist I’ve been in practice for 25 years. And in all of those 25 years, I’ve really worked hard on making sure that your dental care be as comfortable as possible. We have a number of patients who I’ll proudly brag about us for our level of comfort that we do provide for them. If it’s fear we have station dentistry where you can come in and have as much dentistry. You know, we can see you for 3, 4 hours using sedation. Basically using a little pill, it’s called oral sedation by using a little pill before your appointment, take a nap and then I’ll be monitoring your heart rate and your blood pressure, your oxygen to make sure it’s a safe procedure. You will have basically hardly any memory, or no memory at all, of the procedure and you’ll be very comfortable when you come in.
We also use nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide is an inhalation, laughing gas that it’s known as. And you breathe through your nose. And it has a very euphoric feeling to it. So, you kind of put yourself a little bit spacey, a little outside your normal realm of feeling. And it has an amnesia effect on it too. It just relaxes you, and makes it much more of a tranquil type of feeling.
If it’s sound that you’re concerned about we have headphones, wireless, noise cancelling headphones that you can use and hook up right to your or to our iPhone that we have. If it’s a longer procedure you have and you just want to be entertained we have some special glasses that we can have you put on, and we are connected with Netflix. And, using Netflix gives us the ability to hook in wirelessly with our small server, and you can watch a movie with our small glasses that we use to do that. So we are equipped for almost anything that you come with. I know that fear is a real thing, and what’s most importantly that I believe in, is the fact that, we will listen to your needs first before we start recommending any type of treatment.
Shelby Township Dentist Offers Options for Fear
We want to get to know you as our client. And then get to know you really as a friend. It’s important that we generate a good relationship first before we start doing any type of dental care on you; because trust is one of the biggest factors in dentistry and it’s the thing that has really separated high fear patients with old dental providers who didn’t really care about how you felt, but today’s different in dentistry. Certainly, at the Gentle Dentist, we do take that need seriously. Come and check us out. Call us up at (586) 247-3500. Thank you and have a blessed day.
Shelby Township Dentist Offers Options for Fear
Hi. This is Dr. Antolak from the thegentledentist.com in Shelby Township, Michigan. (586) 247-3500 is our phone number. And why am I sitting here with this dental hand piece, or what’s known as the drill, is because this is the thing that can frighten so many people out of coming to the dentist. And so you have, you have fear of the drill don’t worry about it, we actually have a number of things that we do to try to combat that feeling of the drill. A dental hand piece is necessary so that we can remove old fillings out of teeth and decay and reshape teeth.
And so, this is really important part of what we do, but if we can present it a little differently to our patients then that really makes it a little bit more comfortable for people. The reason why I think so many people are afraid of the memory that they have is of the high whining pitch of an air driven hand piece. An air driven hand piece is the one that goes like this. When you’re working on it and it just goes up and down, up and down. And you have this whining noise and really loud and one thing that we do here is I do, have not used one of those in quite a long time. What we have in place of that is called, electric hand piece. Most of the time, an air driven hand piece has a turbine engine like it does on a jet and so it spins very fast. This for example is our, our electric hand piece and this actually an electric motor right here inside of this right here that gives us a lot of torque. And the reason why that’s important is, you’re not going to get that high pitch high and then low, and then high and then low. You’re going to get a straight, steady sound, but it’s a less sound too. So if I put this on you hear it and its just one noise. And it’s about half the volume and half the decibels that it would be with an air-driven hand piece.
So this is one thing we do; we can also dial in. When we use this, we can dial in the exact speed that we want. We have so much control out of what a, what a dental hand piece can do. And so they’re really outstanding for doing most everything that we do. Also, if the sound is an issue we do have is our noise cancelling headphones if you want to listen to music. You can use our noise cancelling headphones. You put these on and we can get into if you want music we can get into Pandora. You can choose the type of music that you want to listen to. Which makes it very nice and convenient. If you’re having a longer procedure and you want something a little different, we use these same, we use the same headphones, but we also incorporate something that’s very unique, and that is these are. These are glasses. These are video glasses. Inside these video glasses, you put these on and there’s a screen that sits right there. And it makes it look like you’re in a movie theater. We plus this in and we can plug in Netflix and so with Netflix with the headphones it’s like being at a movie theater while you’re having your dentistry done. So the sound isn’t quite as, as dramatic and you know, we can all also communicate with our patients even though they’re watching a movie. You can still see through these down when you are wearing them. We can also just take off the headphones and talk to them. But yeah, when this is on I can see right here like this. But I can also see when when I look right at the movie. And so it has the benefit of, of having both comfort and distraction but yet at the same time we can indicate with our patients. These are just a few things that we do in our office to try to eliminate the sounds of the dental hand piece to reduce that sound. And also just to make your visit as comfortable as possible. Please come and check us out at thegentledentist.com. Should you want to call us, you can, 586-247-3500. Thank you and have a blessed day.
Shelby Township Dentist Discusses Fear of the Drill
Hi, my name is Dr. Robert Antolak at thegentledentist.com. We are located in Shelby Township, Michigan, and our phone number is 586-247-3500.
What I’d like to talk about today is, which is something that obviously has been a part of me, what I’ve been doing dentistry for the last 24 years, is the fear of the dentist.
Dentistry is a very fearful place. That’s why we are thegentledentist.com. And it’s something that I’ve have an appreciation with the dental patients who come in here, who give me the opportunity to serve them. It’s through our dental office that we try to make a difference. And we do that by people who’ve been putting off dentistry for years and years because of the fear that develops and lives within them from the dentist.
I’d like to just address a couple of those issues. One would be, some really bad childhood experiences. For example I’ve had stories of people who had dentists who slapped them and yelled at them who didn’t listen to them when they were having fillings done in their teeth and hurting them and they were saying, it hurt, it hurt and they, they just ignored it. They just finished doing it. So from me to you I apologize for those really bad experiences that have taken place back in childhood. Now with more modern, compassionate techniques that we do at our dental office I would like to invite you in so we can help you, deal with those issues that have taken place.
You know there’s a few things that come in with that and we find is number one is having someone who your gonna trust- it’s all about trust. It’s all about, having some compassion on, on the issues that are going on. Many times they have to do with childhood, which we talked about the childhood experiences
There is a certain amount of, of space that’s required with people so that they feel comfortable. Normally when we’re a nice distance away people feel comfortable with that, then the closer we encroach upon their personal space, it’s in those moments that people start getting a little bit more nervous. And, so when we get closer and closer and then, we ask you to open your mouth up, and then get into a situation where we’re in your most, very vulnerable, most personal space, called your mouth. That’s gonna create a lot of anxiety for people. And so, I don’t assume that we’re gonna be able to do that without your permission, okay? The reason why the mouth is so sensitive is that it’s very personal.
You now, people don’t always see in there and a lot of times it’s an avoided space. And because we use sharp instruments and if you don’t trust what we’re going to do then you make yourself very vulnerable to those potential issues that have taken place. So we try to work through it and talk to you about it.
One other important thing in our office that we’re going to do is that we’re going to talk to you first before we actually make that appointment and we set you down and we can work out. I try to make my phone calls before your first visit to see how we can do to make your visit more comfortable. And that first call is very inviting to many people who have this level of fear. So this lack of control that people have is very, very intimidating, and sometimes we need to just work through it like I discussed. We’re constantly thinking about the need to go and the problem is when somebody’s always thinking about their desire to go. They need to go. I need to go to the dentist. I need to go to the dentist, and their fear overcomes them. Then they beat themselves up. So that’s really a problem that develops within the psyche of our dental patients. And many times you find that, that phone call I just referred to helps invite them in. To make that stepping into that office a more comfortable experience. Because then they get to know who I am and I get to know who they are. And so the question is, how are we different?
We’re going to listen to your needs, find out what’s there. We want to become your friend. Our office staff is very friendly here. We try to make it a good experience for you, as good as possible. And I’m not going to start before we’re ready to just move in. I’m going to make sure that there’s a relation developed enough so that, so that you’re going to trust what we’re going to do.
I’m also going to inform you of what is being done so there are no surprises. We’re going to make sure that you really, really have a good understanding of what we’re doing. And if there’s, for example, if there’s a time when there might be some sensations that’s uncomfortable. I’m gonna warn you ahead of time. I’ll say, “okay, right now, you’re going to feel something”. And that way, that person’s prepared for that. I try to really limit that amount. I can tell you that when I was a sophomore in dental school, that’s about 26 years ago, that my instructor said, you know, if you want to do a good job with your dental patients in your future, he said, “numb yourself up right here in the front”.
And I did, I realized where it hurts. So since that time, I just make sure that if I’m going to try something new, I do it on myself first as far as anesthetic goes. Then I have some compassion and understanding about that experience. So, since then, I inject very slowly. We use topical anesthetic too, before we give the injection and what that does is it helps to eliminate that picking sensation that you’re gonna get.
Number one is you always have the ability to stop me, at any time whenever we’re doing something. To make sure you’re feeling comfortable and relaxed. And for those who have that high level of sedate of uncomfortableness and fear. We use sedation dentistry, which helps us to relax you. It’s a little pill that you take. You come in, your relaxed, a lot of times no memory of the experience which is really great. (Sometimes we’ll just use gas, nitrous oxide)
If there’s any questions you may have, you can call us at the office at 586-247-3500 or visit our web site at thegentledentist.com. Thank you, have a blessed day.
Overcoming Fear of the Dentist- Dr. Antolak in Shelby, Township Michigan
At www.thegentledentist.com located in Shelby Twp. Macomb county Michigan we live up to our name. Believe it or not even doctors are nervous of coming into the dentist and in this case we served a husband and wife physicians at the same time. This testimony was done immediately after some dental treatment was done on them by Dr. Antolak. The dental injection was painless even though she had some bad experiences with the numbing process in the past she trusted the techniques of the gentle dentist and it was a great experience. The use of topical anesthetic and letting it work long enough allows an injection to be done without any poke or prick. Using small guage needles, injecting slowly and having a desire to not hurt his patients Dr. Antolak’s results are gentle. For an appointment call 586.247.3500. or visit http://www.TheGentleDentist.com
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.