One Size Fits All Dentistry vs Caters to Cowards Dentistry

My dentist recently retired and I just had my first visit with the doctor who took over his practice. I’ve always been a little anxious, but the new dentist seemed so hurried that I would almost describe him as rough while he was doing my filling and as the visit went on, I was literally shaking and having trouble breathing. I don’t like how the office feels like a clinic setting, with everyone hurrying about and patients going through like they’re on an assembly line. Should I tell the dentist how I feel or should I start my search for a new dentist? If I do pick a new office, how can I be sure that I’m choosing an office that I will feel comfortable in?

Thanks,

Gretta

Dear Gretta,

Some offices might as well have a conveyor belt at the door. They seem to only be interested in getting as many patients in as possible each day, using a one-size-fits-all approach. This may work well in a production line at the whatchamacallit factory, but it doesn’t work well for people.

While it’s possible you met the new dentist on a bad day, it sounds more like this is his business model. I wouldn’t expect a conversation with him make much difference, but you could try leaving a message for him to call you outside business hours when he isn’t dividing his attention between you and ten other patients or perhaps even sending a well thought out e-mail would allow him a chance to read it and let it sink in before he responds.

Not all dentists will see to an individual patient’s needs. When you start your search for a new one, look for a dentist who specializes in treating patients with anxiety. This is also sometimes referred to as “cater to cowards” dentistry. What that really means is the dentist understands you are an individual and works especially hard to provide a calm, pleasant environment, rather than the cookie-cutter experience you recently had. Some cater to cowards dentists offer sedation dentistry, while others go the extra mile and provide things like tranquil music, waterfalls, entertainment, snacks and beverages. When you make your first appointment, ask if they provide any of these extras. It also doesn’t hurt to ask how many patients the dentist sees in a day if you’re hoping for a less hurried environment. Some dentists may see only ten patients in an average day whereas others will see twenty or more. The number of patients seen may not always indicate an assembly-line practice, but combined with the other questions you ask, can help paint a clearer picture of what you’ll be walking into.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Bad experience with Clear Choice.

My teeth had continually deteriorated. I was embarrassed to smile and had lost so many teeth I was having trouble eating. The time had come for me to get a full mouth replacement with dental implants. I was drawn to Clear Choice Dental Implant Centers because I saw a commercial on tv. They told me to attend a seminar, which I did. And in hindsight, that whole deal was all smoke and mirrors. I was told that I was a “perfect candidate” and all the glitz at the seminar sold me on the spot. I ended up paying Clear Choice over $4K for all-on-four implant-retained denture. This was their “teeth-in-a-day” offer and I was convinced I truly was the “perfect candidate.”

What they should have called the procedure was “dentures-in-a-day” because I basically had a mouth full of plastic. It turns out at a cleaning it was discovered that the implants were not placed where my teeth once were. And I also found out that they could have used my natural teeth to better secure everything but they didn’t. I was so mad when I found out they removed my natural teeth and they didn’t have to. I called and asked for my money back, and of course the answer was no way! I feel suckered and know this post won’t change anything. But if by chance there is someone like me out there, please, please, please reconsider spending so much money. Go to a reputable implant dentist. Don’t make my mistake!

– Jerry in Georgia

Jerry,

Thank you for your willingness to share your experience. The all-on-four technique is quite popular among Clear Choice Dental Implant Centers. They extract all your remaining teeth and to the implant-retained denture. Every Clear Choice Center is different, but thank you for sharing your story. Every dentist has differing philosophies, but you should have been presented with more than one option in your circumstance. Sorry about your experience.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland implant dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Being asked to pay upfront for implants not completed

I visited a dental office for an implant consultation. The doctor gets rave reviews, and I lost teeth due to an auto accident I was in a few years ago. After lots of research and consultations, I feel dental implants are the best course of action. The dentist I visited agrees, and we are going to place four implants on my lower right side. After the initial surgery, it is estimated that I will return in 6-9 months for final restoration of the implants. This is a very costly procedure, and they asked for payment upfront. I am uncomfortable paying such a large amount upfront and feel it’s bad business. I’ve never heard of paying for something in advanced before it’s even completed. Is it wrong to feel uneasy, and question what the office is asking me to do?

– Charles in Montana

Charles,

It is never wrong to question anything you are unsure about. First and foremost, the relationship between you and your dentist has to be one with trust. Your dentist is your partner on the quest for optimal oral health, and a smile you can be proud of. If you are doubting their methods, whether it’s their capabilities or business practices you should keep looking. Also, it’s important to understand that implant dentistry is far more complex than general dentistry. Due to the complex nature of treatment, the level of involvement by the doctor, and the high price of materials and lab fees accrued, the cost of this treatment is on the high side. Because the doctor lays out so much cost prior to you even having the finished product, asking for payment upfront is not an uncommon practice. Most offices have different finance plans readily available to patients (even interest free) to allow for affordable dental implants. This is a great option, and approval only takes minutes, allowing you to start treatment the same day.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

How Can I Ensure I Will Be Safe During Sedation Dentistry?

I have always had dental anxiety and have put off going in because of  it. I decided that this would be the year I would finally get my teeth taken care of and I really want to try sedation dentistry. Now, though, I worry that I will have a reaction to the medication or will have some other issue while I’m under. How can I be sure that I will be safe?

Thanks,

Pam in Montana

Dear Pam,

While there is always some risk involved in taking any kind of medication, the risk of having an issue as a result of sedation dentistry (whether it’s oral sedation or IV sedation) is very low.  In fact, many sedation dentists never have a patient who experiences a major side-effect throughout their whole careers.

However, there are some things you can do ahead of time that will help set your mind at ease.  Ask your doctor what additional training and experience he has with sedation or sleep dentistry.  Make sure he knows your complete medical history including any supplements and/or medications you take whether they are prescribed or over-the-counter.  This includes recreational drugs and alcohol as their use may have an effect on how well the sedatives he prescribes will work for you.

Find out ahead of time what you can expect to happen during treatment.  Each office should have protocol in place to ensure a sedated patient is never alone and is monitored.  They should also have an emergency plan in place as well as staff who can provide emergency CPR if there is a problem.

Your dentist will give you specific instructions for home-care, but you should also arrange to have someone transport you to and from the appointment and someone who can be with you at home until after the medication is out of your system.   Plan to take the day off from work and social events.

Dentists who practice sedation dentistry do so because they understand dental anxiety.  Be open and honest with him about your concerns and he will set your mind at ease.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Ready to get past my dental fear!

I am ready to face my fear of the dentist. My teeth have suffered for too long. I have heard about sedation dentistry. Is this something that really can knock me out during treatment?

– Shannon in Nebraska

Shannon,

Millions of Americans put off regular dental care because they are scared of the dentist. Modern sedation dentistry techniques may be the answer you have been waiting for.  Going to the dentist does not have to be something you dread. There are varying techniques available now to help patients get over their fear.

Nitrous oxide is a mild relaxant gas that helps you relax in the chair. Patients like this method because it wears off almost immediately after the appointment. It is simply breathed in through a mask at your appointment and can be adjusted based on your anxiety level.

Stronger forms of sedation work for more fearful patients. From the sound of it, you may fall into this category if you want to be “knocked out” at your appointment. Oral sedation involves taking an anti-anxiety medication before your appointment. It will make you feel sleepy and indifferent to what is going on. It will feel like you have been knocked out even though you are still conscious the entire time. IV sedation is administered in some offices and is done by injection into your hand or arm. With this method, as well as with oral sedation, you will need to have someone accompany you to the appointment because you will be unable to drive home safely.

Hopefully you are encouraged in the fact that you have options and with sedation dentistry. A lot of dental work can be completed in one sitting and it will all be pain-free! The most important thing of all is to find the right dentist that understands your fear. Having the right dentist you can trust will make all the difference. So be open and honest, don’t be embarrassed. You can get back on track with regular dental care.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Child is freaking out at dentist.

My son was a mess at his last dentist appointment! He flailed and screamed his head off, kicked his legs, and would not calm down. It took several staff to complete the examination and unfortunately he has to have some cavities filled. He’s only three years old so I don’t want to terrify him more than he has already been. I was wondering if they could sedate him when he goes back in for the fillings? But the dentist said, no. He said they were very small and they wouldn’t need to sedate him. But I just don’t envision that he will sit there for them. The dentist mentioned a papoose board. What is that and is it going to further traumatize him?

The main purpose of a papoose board is to stabilize a child so there is no harm done to the staff or to the child during a medical or dental treatment. They are comprised of soft cloth and Velcro straps to keep the child contained. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry does allow them to used at the dentist’s recommendation and in the least restrictive way possible for everyone’s safety. It is still completely up to you. So if you are not comfortable you can refuse the use of it. The dentist is required to seek the authorization of a parent before administering the use of a papoose board. If you have any hesitancy about the effectiveness or simply aren’t okay with it, you can take your child to a different dentist and seek another opinion. Since you had difficult during your child’s first appointment, you may want to find a pediatric dentist that specializes in treating the needs of children. There are some dentists that will use sedation dentistry techniques along with the papoose board and others that actually will use sedation for specific cases. So just make sure you find the right dentist to fit your preferences. Oral sedation is an oral medication that is swallowed and nitrous oxide is a relaxant gas the is breathed in through a mask. You know your child best so take the time to find the right treatment plan for your child. You do not want to scare your child anymore than has already been done.

Best of luck! Also, you should know you are not alone. Many parents deal with uncooperative children in these types of environments. So don’t feel like you did something wrong. Every child is different. Thanks for sharing your story.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Will dentures be ugly?

I don’t have that many teeth left. I only have four on top and four more on the bottom. I really don’t want dentures because I think they will look so ugly and fake. Will Snap-on Smile work for me?

– Carl in Indiana

Carl,

Unfortunately a Snap-on Smile is an appliance that requires you to have teeth. It’s only a temporary solution anyway, but it snaps into place over your natural teeth. So since you only have a few remaining teeth on top and bottom, it will not work for you.

It sounds like the best solution in your specific case is indeed dentures. Although, you may have a certain feeling about how they may look, if they are done by a cosmetic dentist they can be done beautifully. Dentures can actually be made to look natural and very lifelike, so much so that at a conversational distance, others won’t even be able to tell that they aren’t your real teeth.

If your budget isn’t a huge concern for you, dental implants can also be used together with the dentures to help secure them giving you a much better and more secure fit. It is also a possibility that implant overdentures can be placed over your existing teeth if your natural teeth are healthy enough to support this treatment. So you aren’t totally out of options. Moving forward with the use of some dental implants will go a long way. You won’t have to be worried about them moving or slipping around while you are talking or eating.

Snap-on Smile will not give you decent results.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Concerned about the cost of dental implants.

I have done my research and understand that dental implants are the best way to replace missing teeth. I have heard about facial collapse and really don’t want my dad to have to deal with that debilitating condition. But I just don’t know how we will afford implants? I’m seeing information that mini implants are more affordable. How much more affordable are they really?

– Roy in Illinois

Roy,

You are correct that dental implants are the best solution to replace missing teeth for many reasons. They function just like normal teeth, they look and feel the same, and as you mentioned they prevent bone loss around each implant site. Implants truly offer the best quality of life and in the long run are more economical than some of the cheaper alternatives, like dentures.

Your concern about the cost of dental implants is understandable. As for mini implants, you are also correct in that they are less expensive than standard dental implants. In fact, once it’s all said and done, mini implants are a more affordable dental implants because they are about half the cost of standard implants. This is mainly due to the fact that they are much smaller in diameter than traditional implants which means the surgery to replace them is much less invasive, and the healing time is much faster. All of these factors contribute to the lower cost.

That said, be sure to discuss mini implants with your dentist to make sure he or she is comfortable with placing them. Not every dentist believes in their long term strength overtime. And you never want to move forward with any type of treatment that your dentist isn’t fully supportive of. But every case is different and mini implants are a less expensive alternative. They are not strong enough to support a single tooth restoration, but they can be used to stabilize a denture, etc. Discuss the options regarding your dad’s personal situation and be honest about your cost concern. Sometimes limiting the number of implants placed can save a lot of money and still provide an effective solution.

Good luck!

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.