How We Work to Calm Fears and Keep Patients Comfortable ZOMBIES ARE SCARY, BUT THE DENTIST’S OFFICE ISN’T!
Halloween is just around the corner, which means the odds you’ll run into a vampire, werewolf, or ghost are a lot higher than usual. It’s no surprise we’re afraid of these spooky monsters (and the people who dress like them), but did you know that some studies suggest more people are afraid of going to the dentist than they are of zombies? According to ABC News, a survey of American adults found 8.5% are scared of zombies, while Colgate Oral and Dental Health Resource Center reports 9–15% of the U.S. population fears going to the dentist. At Stumpf Dental, my staff and I do everything we can to allay these fears using discussion, proven procedures, and devices designed to increase patient comfort. In my time as a dentist, I’ve found that these worries usually fall into a few different categories. Some are afraid to come to the dentist because they’re nervous about experiencing pain. Others are put on edge by the smells and vibrations that sometimes accompany dental work, and still others worry about the cost of dental procedures. I hope fears like these aren’t keeping you or a loved one from visiting my office, but if they are, you should know that we’re well aware that going to the dentist can be scary, and we’re always looking for ways to make it less so. Below, I go into detail on a few of our strategies. First, people who are afraid of pain often worry about shots and needles, which we use to administer anesthesia. To address some of those issues, I’ve invested in a computerized anesthetic delivery system called The Wand, which helps limit the discomfort of getting a shot. You’ll still feel the poke of the needle, but The Wand controls the speed at which the anesthetic is delivered, keeping it even and smooth. That has a big impact on how the shot feels. Not a lot of dentists use The Wand because of the cost associated with it, but I think it’s important to give my patients W orried A bout S ugary H alloween C andy D amaging Y our K ids ’T eeth ? It turns out that prolonged exposure to sugar is worse for your teeth than a single big dose! Try not to let grazing on candy be an option and be sure to brush the teeth soon after the sweet indulgence.
the best experience possible. For that same reason, I have a ventilation system that helps pull smells out of the office. Vibrations are more difficult to deal with, so for people with strong anxiety about them or who worry about experiencing
pain even during routine procedures, we offer conscious sedation to make their time in the office more comfortable. Basically, people who choose conscious
sedation take a pill before their visit to the office to help them relax. They’re aware of what’s going on around them and can respond to the dentist, but they don’t feel any pain or remember the procedure afterward. As you might imagine, there is quite a process involved in clearing patients for conscious sedation, including getting medical clearance from a primary care physician and a thorough review of their treatment plan prior to treatment. Patients who elect conscious sedation also need to secure a ride to and from the office, as they can’t drive after taking the pill. The final hurdle that I’ve found keeps people from visiting the dentist’s office is fear about the cost. Many people are under the impression that dentistry is too expensive without dental insurance. Some believe they can save money by not seeing a dentist regularly and some wait for a sign from God (like a lightning bolt in their tooth) before seeking dental care. While some dentistry can be expensive, it’s never as expensive as neglect. Preventive dentistry is a bargain when compared to the cost of restorative dentistry. The longer you wait to visit the dentist, the more expensive your next visit can become. Think of your smile like your car — oil changes and tire rotations aren’t covered by your insurance, but they minimize damage and extend the life expectancy. We have several options that help to keep your dental costs within your budget. If fear has been keeping you from visiting the dentist’s office, my staff and I would love to talk to you and find out what we can do to help. Call us today at 262-970- 0111 to learn more! -Dr. Janelle Ferber-Stumpf
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