Are you terrified of having dental work? Have you put off going to the dentist for years, despite a horrible tooth pain or condition, because of your paralyzing fear? When you have seen the dentist in the past did you feel like all eyes were on you—the doctor’s “dreaded anxiety patient?” Do you nearly go into panic attack just sitting in the chair?
I Understand Fear
My name is Dr. Leggieri. I was born with a congenital absence of my left ear which resulted in many surgeries at Johns Hopkins Hospital, in Baltimore. My surgeries started when I was five years old, and if you include the common ones (like knee, sinus, etc.) I have had 46 total surgeries! Pain is not a favorite part my life, but it has taught me very valuable lessons. There are not many fears or concerns that you might experience that I have not experienced in medical or dental procedures. I understand your trials and fears.
Even if we know our fears are illogical we still feel what we feel. Our fears are real enough to us –aren’t they? I won’t judge you because I know the effect they have on you.
Because of those fears, new patients often come to me after over 10 years without seeing a dentist. Some simply won’t have any dental work done unless they receive sedation treatment first.
I know how strong phobias can be. I am claustrophobic. When an MRI is performed for medical patients the place where the test is done is very small. The first time I had an MRI I freaked out. By the time the MRI was done I was a whimpering baby. I have had 4 MRI’s since and I have asked to be sedated every time. People who do not have extreme phobias simply can’t relate. They don’t understand the terror that is felt. They think our fear is unreasonable. It’s not. It is real!
Other Common Fears
1. Fear of needles – I have had over 500 injections in my life. I don’t like them either. I am not as afraid as I used to be but I remember how paralyzed I used to be. I used to worry about my next hospital visit days before it was scheduled because of that anticipation.
2.Not getting numb enough so that it still hurts after the local anesthetic – I have had a number of minor surgeries while I was awake, some that lasted for an hour or more. I don’t get numb easily and they inject over and over and over. I PROMISE – I won’t work on you unless you are numb. There are many techniques to get a person numb. I will make sure or I won’t keep working.
3. Concerns with Budget – My early childhood surgeries were major. Believe it or not the insurance company wouldn’t pay for the first five surgeries, calling them “cosmetic surgeries.” I can still remember sitting on a chair in the admissions office; my father close to tears discussing the hospital bill. He was never a wealthy man. Time after time I saw how difficult it was for him to pay for my major surgeries. Though he never discussed it with me until many years later, stress like that isn’t easily hidden from children. Disagreements are an everyday occurrence with insurance companies today also. I understand how frustrating that can be, and I will be your partner in fighting that battle with you. We have a number of payment options to help. We file all insurance forms for you and help fight for the reimbursements you deserve (sometimes we need your help to get them to do their part).
4. Fear of being judged for the condition of your mouth– I understand what it feels like to be self-conscious about appearance. Even when people tell me they think I am handsome, I still feel self-conscious. So many of our patients come to us because they have heard that we won’t judge them. They might say, “But you haven’t seen a mouth as bad as mine.” I’ve been a dentist for 34 years. I see at least one person a day who feels their teeth are worse than anyone else’s I’ve ever seen. We are here to help, never to criticize. Even though you may feel self-conscious, you still deserve a beautiful smile! My team and I are passionate about helping you get it!
5. Fear of gagging – I am a gagger. My assistants sometimes have to do several x-rays on me on different days because I can’t do them without gagging.
6. Have a hard time holding mouth open or have TMJ pain – Again, I have that too.
Whether you need sedation or just someone who cares enough to treat you the way you the way you (and I) want to be treated, we will meet your needs. Our professional staff is friendly and easy to talk to. Once you’ve experienced the Apple Dental difference, you’ll never want to go anywhere else.
We know that you have fears. But don’t wait another minute to give yourself the gift of compassionate dentistry. Let us take care of you.