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Your Healthy Family: How to take control of your hesitancy to go to the dentist

Posted at 3:24 PM, Aug 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-10 17:24:12-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — If you haven't been to the dentist for a while it's important for many reasons to get back in there. This story is meant to give you the tools to overcome your hesitations whatever they may be.

I recently sat down with Colorado Springs Dentist, Dr. Fred Guerra, DMD with Guerra Dental who tells me he understands why some people are hesitant dental patients. “We know that statistically, along with snakes, elevators, and airplanes, dentists are in the subgroup. It's not the most favorite place for many people to come and so we really have to have a focus on making those patients comfortable when they come in.”

Pain is the main reason Dr. Guerra says people generally avoid the dentist, and recently others have become hesitant because of the pandemic. Whatever the reason may be, it’s important to take the first step and pick up the phone. “When someone is deciding to come back to the dentist for whatever reason, they have already made a commitment that they are going to try and address their avoidance or anxiety. We know routine dental treatment is going to prevent pain and prevent loss of tooth structure.”

Dr. Guerra also says dental care has come a long way, and there are many options available to patients to address anxiety or fear of pain in the dental chair. “We need to address the pain issue and control that. We can do conscious sedation where the patient is in a slightly altered state so they can have dental work done comfortably. We can even go to a form of I.V. sedation where we can put the patient to sleep, in order to get the treatment done.”

If your anxiety begins before you even get to the office, Dr. Guerra says you need to be asking questions, beginning with the first person who answers the phone when you call the office. “I would suggest the first thing someone should do when speaking with the person who answers the phone - who is likely the front desk receptionist - ask what types of service and what level of service accommodation they are making to welcome you to the practice. I feel that level of service is the level of service that you will expect in your future appointments down the road.”

You should continue asking questions when you arrive at the office to ease your concerns. You should feel free to question everyone you interact with, from the hygienist to assistants, and especially the dentist. Dr. Guerra says the answers you get should reassure you, and the questions should include, “How long have you worked in the office? How long have you worked with this dentist? How long has the staff been there or what's the retention level like in the office. When you meet the doctor you want to feel comfortable with his recommendations. For certain procedures, you may want to ask how many of them have they done, or how long has he been doing them? You have to have a very good rapport with the dentist.”

Dr. Guerra says delivering quality customer service has always been a priority for him, and some of the things he regularly does for patients are things you should expect from any quality provider. “Certainly, most patients don't have a clear-cut understanding of what you (as a dentist) might be presenting to them when it comes to treatment options. I am willing to show them pictures or examples of cases that I’ve done. I’m willing to tell them, ‘If you have any questions, I welcome you to go get a second opinion.’ We always welcome second opinions here. We know that our most satisfied patients are the patients that are referred by our patients. We say our best patients come from our existing patients. If you're not one of those patients that has been referred, you want to go through all those questions to feel as comfortable as possible in the office. I will sometimes ask patients after everything that I've gone over, ‘Are we on the same page and do you feel like you were in the right place to get the care that you deserve?’”

If you have any questions about Guerra Dental feel free to call them at 719-596-1230, or visit their website (HERE)

Guerra Dental is a proud sponsor of Your Healthy Family