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