How We Helped One Patient Overcome Dental Phobia to Rebuild a Smile

Dental phobia keeps millions of patients away from the care they need.

Many patients come to us after years of avoiding the dentist. They often feel ashamed of the state of their failing dental health, in constant pain, and unable to eat their favorite foods. It might have been years since they smiled in photos.

Missing and damaged teeth can make you look less professional. Many people miss out on career opportunities because their teeth make it hard to speak clearly and confidently.

If any of this sounds familiar, don’t lose hope. With restorative and cosmetic dentistry in Orlando, FL, we can help you enjoy the health, comfort, and confidence that come with good oral health. You may have seen our recent post about one patient’s amazing transformation.

Want more proof of how life-changing dental care can be? Meet Mr. December!

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We are ecstatic to show you Mr. December’s amazing results!

How Dental Phobia Made His Smile Fell Apart

If you’ve ever dealt with extreme anxiety, you know how overwhelming it is.

Many patients find it hard to even walk through the front door of a dental office. Our Mr. December came to us an anxious mess. Just sitting in the dental chair triggered profuse sweating and shaking.

Suffice it to say, it had been a long time since he’d seen a dentist.

For a patient in his early 30’s, his teeth had aged far beyond their years. After many years without dental care, he struggled with constant pain.

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Our patient’s severe dental anxiety had caused serious oral health problems.

He’d lost significant enamel. Acid erosion had worn away the outer layer of many teeth, leaving them dark and extremely sensitive. His bite was worn down, making his teeth short and creating strain in his jaws.

He also had untreated cavities throughout his mouth. Cavities along the gum line of his front teeth further affected how his teeth looked.

In short, he’d been dealing with constant pain and felt ashamed of his smile. It affected almost every aspect of his life and self-esteem. At this point many patients are ready to give up on their teeth and get ready to live with dentures.

So what could we do about it?

Step 1. Building Trust and Overcoming Dental Fears

Before we could create a treatment plan for our Mr. December, we needed to help him overcome his fears.

At Lake Baldwin Dental, we pride ourselves on helping patients overcome dental anxiety so they can enjoy better health and quality of life.

We do that by taking a pause and having a conversation.

There’s good reason so many people feel uncomfortable at the dentist. Have you ever had a dentist sweep into the room and just start poking around while they tower over you, talking over your head and then giving you a laundry list of treatments you need? It’s not a great experience.

The first time you meet Dr. Dunn (and at every visit), you’ll meet him sitting up. First, he wants to hear about your concerns. What have you been struggling with? How have your teeth affected your life? How do you hope we can improve things for you?

From there, he’ll let you know exactly what’s going to happen next. We always take the time to explain everything, show you pictures so you can see exactly what we see, and make sure you understand your needs as well as all your options.

For our transformation patient, it took time and a gentle, compassionate team to start overcoming his fears and learn to feel comfortable in the dental office. Fortunately, we’re always up to the task.

Step 2. Building the Right Plan

Once we had a good idea of our patient’s goals and treatment needs, we could start creating a plan.

He wanted to get his life back on track, and restoring his smile was an important step in that journey.

Because of the severe damage throughout his entire set of teeth, Dr. Dunn determined that the best approach was to custom-craft porcelain crowns to cover each tooth. He was also missing a tooth on the top, which we replaced with a dental bridge that blends seamlessly with the surrounding teeth.

Dental bridges have a false tooth fused to crowns on both sides. The false tooth floats over the gums, held in place securely with the crowns attached to natural teeth on either side of the gap.

Looking at Mr. December’s results, it’s impossible to tell which one is the false tooth if you don’t already know!

A key part of our plan was how we would keep our high-anxiety patient comfortable through every phase of his treatment, and how we could minimize his time in the chair and maximize his results.

We’re proud to offer sedation dentistry in Orlando, FL for any patient who has dental fears, difficulty getting or staying numb, an overactive gag reflex, or who want to relax through long or complex procedures.

Combined with painless numbing injections with our DentalVibe, which distracts your nerves to make every injection as comfortable as possible, our patient enjoyed comfortable treatments at every visit.

Step 3. Rebuilding a Perfect Smile

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Check out this gorgeous smile! We’re so happy for our patient to enjoy his renewed smile and health.

We are so proud of our anxious patients who overcome their fears to follow through with their treatment plans. It’s not an easy thing to do!

Dr. Dunn and his right-hand-gal Allison rebuilt our patient’s full smile with full upper and lower porcelain crowns.

Porcelain crowns replace lost enamel and completely surround the teeth to create strong, functional, and beautiful new teeth.

A key part of rebuilding his smile was to restore a healthy bite. Because his teeth were so worn down, his bite had collapsed, and his jaw joints were feeling the pinch.

After preparing the teeth and setting temporary restorations, Allison and Dr. Dunn gave Mr. December time to adjust to his new bite before setting his gorgeous new final restorations.

Step 4. Celebrating and Smiling!

It took about two and a half weeks from our patient’s first appointment to his final results, and they are truly amazing.

By the time his final crowns were in place, Mr. December felt so comfortable in the dental office that he didn’t want to leave! He told our team that he felt great being here and wanted to stay and hang out.

We watched his quiet, anxious side melt away into a confident, talkative, outgoing personality and a person who couldn’t stop smiling. In fact, he shared with us that he had to figure out how to smile because he never has before!

To ensure he enjoys his new dream smile for as long as possible, Dr. Dunn also gave him a night guard to protect his porcelain and his jaw joints. Now that he actually looks forward to visiting us, he’ll return for regular cleanings and maintenance and enjoy a long life of great oral health.

A Note from Dr. Dunn and Allison to Mr. December

There are times in our careers as dental professionals that really stand out as especially rewarding.

This patient is one of them. Dr. Dunn and Allison agree that rebuilding this smile is probably one of the most rewarding cases they’ve ever completed together in over 15 years of practicing side by side.

Watching our patients overcome their fears, watching their personalities change, and seeing them come out of their shell and into renewed confidence makes our jobs truly rewarding.

We want to extend our heartfelt thanks to every patient who has trusted us with their care, and especially to patients like Mr. December!

Keep smiling, Orlando! We know this patient will!