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Frequently Asked Questions
Local anesthetics don't seem to work on me. What can be done?
Can I be put to sleep for dental work?
If being put to sleep is inadvisable, how can I cope with my fear of dental work?
I tend to gag. Do you have a way of dealing with this?
Do you need to take x-rays? Aren't they dangerous?

Q. Local anesthetics don't seem to work on me. What can be done?
A. Commonly used local anesthetics work on everyone if they are properly administered. Some patients require more anesthetic than average and specific teeth have extra (non-dental) nerves that can make them more sensitive so the area around the tooth may require higher levels of anesthetic. Unfortunately, some doctors don't take these factors into account. We constantly strive to make dentistry as painless as possible and have many alternative techniques for achieving effective local anesthesia.
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Q. Can I be put to sleep for dental work?
A. It sounds easier to be put to sleep than to face our fears, but we do not recommend this approach for several reasons:
1) There is only a certain amount of time you can safely be put under sedation in a dental office. If you need a lot of work and a dentist puts you under sedation, the quality of his work will be severely compromised, because the doctor will have to rush to complete your treatment.
2) Using sedation will also compromise a dentist's work because you are unable to cooperate—e.g., by moving your mouth a certain way or biting down to check such factors as bite, fit, comfort etc.
3) Sedation is not really an option for short procedures. Many restorative procedures like crowns and bridges require multiple short visits for try-ins or fittings that cannot be lumped together to make sedation viable. Without the proper trials and adjustments, the quality of the work will suffer.
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Q. If being put to sleep is inadvisable, how can I cope with my fear of dental work?
A. Let us help you.

Being sedated does not help you conquer your fear of dental procedures. You will still fear and avoid the dentist's office after dental work is done under sedation. Without proper cleaning and checkups the work you've had done will fail prematurely.

We know many people think they can't overcome their fear of the dentist, but if you are motivated to improve your dental health and appearance, we can help you overcome your fear.

Dr. Michael Krochak has been specializing in the treatment of patients with varying levels of dental phobia for over 25 years. He is the founder and director of The Dental Phobia Treatment Center of New York and a former director of the Mount Sinai Hospital Dental Phobia Clinic, Dr. Krochak is sought after as a media spokesperson and as a lecturer in the field of dental phobia, by educational and professional organizations a well as by the media.

We have helped patients who have had dental phobia from childhood overcome their fears, with expert care, minimization of pain and discomfort, and the attention of our supportive and caring staff. This is the sound way to make your dentist visits a positive experience, without fear and with the knowledge that you are improving yourself.

In our practice, we often invite patients to just stop by and meet the staff and see the office. Dr. Krochak can usually give you a quick hello as well, so you can get a "feel" for the environment and personalities this way. With modern dental technology, it's never to late to regain your oral health and have an attractive smile again.
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Q. I tend to gag. Do you have a way of dealing with this?
A. We usually desensitize our patients to the gag reflex by first teaching them various relaxation techniques, such as diaphragmatic breathing (deep breathing), progressive muscle relaxation and visualization of soothing imagery. Then we set up a program at home by giving them various dental tools, such as a tongue depressor, cotton rolls, dental mirror and sectional impression trays. Patients first practice relaxing, then slowly introduce the tools into their mouths, retract their tongues and cheeks. They also use a stopwatch to measure how long they feel in control with the items in their mouths and record those times in a diary. By practicing this program each day, patients slowly build up increased tolerance and reduce their fear of gagging. In our office, patients have the support of Dr. Krochak and his staff, but it is much more cost-effective to do most of the exercises at home.

Sometimes, we use Chloraseptic, an over-the-counter throat spray that slightly anesthetizes the throat. Certain sore throat lozenges will do this as well.

We have recently discovered another highly effective technique, borrowed from acupuncture and acupressure therapies. There is an acupuncture/acupressure point to treat nausea and gagging on the underside of your wrist between the tendons of your forearm. This point is located about three fingers up your arm from the crease of your hand as it meets your wrist) when your palms are up.

We use "Sea Bands," which are elastic wristbands with a plastic button that presses on this acupressure point. While these bands are designed to counteract seasickness, we have found they work extraordinarily well to counter the gag reflex if they are applied to both wrists five minutes prior to treatment.
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Q. Do you need to take x-rays? Aren't they dangerous?
A. In our office, we take a full set of radiographs only every three to five years depending on your oral health. We use digital technology with computer-enhanced techniques that reduce radiation up to 80%. You will get more radiation on a sunny day than from a set of digital dental radiographs.

A full series of radiographs are required to show the areas between your teeth as well as nerves, roots and the health of the bone that supports your teeth. This procedure allows us to provide you with a thorough and comprehensive diagnosis as well as the best treatment options.
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