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Breakthrough Treatments End Dental Fear

February 26, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — tntadmin @ 10:54 pm

When Steve was in his early 20s he swore he’d never visit a dentist again. Now, 20 years later it was obvious he’d kept that promise.

As he sat in my office looking totally miserable I couldn’t help noticing that his teeth were stained and chipped. His gums were red and there were large cavities in his front teeth. I felt like I was watching his teeth rotting as we talked.

“I know it’s dumb,” he said, looking down at his shaking hands, “but every time I’d think about going to the dentist I’d get so scared I’d actually feel sick.”

Finally the pain of NOT taking care of his teeth had become worse than the stress of facing down his fear.

More than Pain

“It’s not just that my teeth hurt,” he said softly, “although they do — particularly when I eat anything hot or cold or hard. It’s all the other stuff. Like knowing my breath must smell awful.

“You wouldn’t believe how much mouthwash I go through. But even with that, and all the breath mints I use I feel like I shouldn’t get close to people – not even my wife.”

He sighed. “I really miss that…”

‘And it’s not just my personal life,” he continued.

“All the problems with my mouth are messing me up at work, too. For example I KNOW I just got passed over for promotion because of the way I look. I mean, would YOU hire someone whose mouth looks the way mine does for a job that includes meeting new customers?

“Look,” he said, his shoulders slumping, “It’s not like I don’t know I have problem. EVERYBODY knows I do. Even my 7 year old niece. She actually asked my sister if I didn’t like her because I never smiled at her the way her other uncles did.

A Common Problem

I couldn’t help feeling sorry for Steve. But, fortunately I had more to offer him  than sympathy.

For example, I was able to reassure him that he wasn’t alone. Dr. Peter Milgrom, Director of the Dental Fears Research Clinic at the University of Washington estimates that between 5% and 8% of Americans avoid EVER going to the dentist because they’re just too frightened. And as many as 20% are so anxious they only go when it’s absolutely necessary.1 That works out to a whopping 40 million Americans.2

Roughly two thirds of them say they’re afraid of dentists because of a bad experience in the past3 – which turned out to be why Steve had been avoiding dental visits for decades.

Help for Dental Fear

Even better, I was able to reassure him that today dentists understand how he feels.  As Dr. William Kuttler, spokesperson for the Academy of General Dentistry puts it “Helping patients overcome their fear of visiting the dentist has become just as important as mastering the latest clinical technique.” 4

I know how painfully anxious people with dental fear can feel and I’m committed to easing that fear and making it possible for you to get the care you need.

What’s more, I have a variety of techniques to help – beginning withlistening respectfully to your fears, helping you gain a sense of control and using various distraction strategies.

Our Solution: Sedation Dentistry

Sedation for dentistry is the use of medications to provide relaxation and comfort during dental procedures. while you sleep, we can complete all dental treatment in a safe, pain-free environment. With these medications you’re so comfortable and stress-free you may choose longer visits in which we can do large amounts of work. In fact, in many cases I can complete most if not all the needed work in one or two visits.

So, if anxiety is keeping you from having the healthy attractive smile you deserve, let’s talk. Because “Fearless Dentistry” is not only possible – it’s simple, safe and available right here at my office.


By Dr. Mariliza LaCap

  1. Peter Milgrom, DDS, Dir. Dental Fears Research Clinic, U. of Washington, quoted by WebMD’
  2. Can Music Help Overcome Dental Anxiety, Academy of General Dentistry InfoBites,
  3. Peter Milgrom, DDS, Dir. Dental Fears Research Clinic, U. of Washington, quoted by WebMD’
  4. William Kuttler, DDS, FAGD, Academy of General Dentistry Spokesperson, “Dental Anxiety is a Real Condition,” Academy of General Dentistry InfoBites