Recommend a dentist in Denver
February 13, 2010 3:16 PM   Subscribe

I'm scared to death of going to the dentist. I have a lot of problems with my teeth and gums, mostly as a result of avoiding appointments for the last few years. I am ready to face the music and make an appointment now to get my teeth fixed, but I'd like recommendations for a gentle, non-judgmental (and not too expensive?) dentist in the Denver metro area.

I've read many of the other Ask Metafilter questions about dental anxiety, and I've heard that most dentists nowadays are much less brusque and judgmental than the Torquemadas of yesteryear. But it would help me a lot to get specific recommendations of Denver-area dentists that you've had good experiences with.

Also, if anyone has gone through this dreadful experience yourself and can share your story about how it all came around OK in the end, I'd love to hear from you as well.

Thank you for your help.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I've posted about this before... there is no doubt that you are in nowhere near as bad a shape as I was when I finally made a move to get things corrected. I'll spare the details as to what was done, suffice it to say it involved multiple extractions, shaving a bone spur on my upper jaw, fillings, gum treatments... all in all it was a full 8 hours (in one sitting) in the chair...

The secret to my finally being able to do this was spending some time talking to the dentist, who specialized in sedation dentistry, for a couple of hours about how he would make it possible for me to do this.

Bottom line, I remember about 10 minutes of that 8 hours, and never felt any pain during the procedure, and very little afterwards.

Search for someone that does sedation dentistry, and see if you can get all of the work done in one session.

memail me if you want more details..

You'll survive!
posted by HuronBob at 3:54 PM on February 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

Dr Tsumara at midtown dental is very good. Not sure if you want to do sedation work; i'm not sure if they do that or not. Nice small office though, and a great staff.
posted by craven_morhead at 4:19 PM on February 13, 2010

Just an anecdote (not in the Denver area, unfortunately):

I was in the same boat as you when I finally got up the nerve to go get a dental consultation. I picked a dentist who I knew offered sedation dentistry. Even though no work was being done I was still terrified of going in, but honestly, just the act of GOING really helped alleviate a lot of the fear. Once I was there and he told me what I needed to have done and explained the procedure and how the sedation works I thought, "Huh, maybe I won't even need the sedation." So perhaps you'll have a similar experience. I think the dentists who do offer sedation are much more sensitive in dealing with people who they know are afraid.

I haven't had the work done yet (I actually have an askme question waiting in the wings as far as that's concerned) but I wanted to let you know that taking that first step is sometimes the hardest part. Good luck!
posted by a.steele at 4:23 PM on February 13, 2010

Sedation might be a good idea if you need extensive work done and just can't work yourself up to going otherwise, but in my opinion sedation won't help you address the actual fear.

If you want to feel better about going to the dentist for the long term--regular six-month cleanings and such--I think it can be helpful to be completely aware of what is happening and actively see and feel that it is not as bad as you were expecting. I used to be super afraid... and then I had super-crazy-sideways-impacted wisdom teeth removed with only novocaine and no sedation. Now I am totally fearless when it comes to the dentist. OK, maybe not fearless, considering I do close my eyes so I don't have to see the tools coming at me, but I know that it is painless and just annoying more than anything. I credit being awake for the wisdom teeth process with that.
posted by dayintoday at 4:36 PM on February 13, 2010

also try to remind yourself that in the United States, because many/most insurers won't cover it, dental care is a service profession, rather than strictly medical.

because dentists are more often working for real money, compared to doctors, you can typically expect better customer service from a dentist than from a doctor, because they know a) you are paying them your own money and b) you can go somewhere else - no network, no problem.

I know that's crudely put, but my experience with both has shown me that some doctors know they're the only game in town (on your network, accepting new patients, etc) and treat you accordingly, while dentists, in my experience, mostly know they have to compete.

when I was there I think I went to Almeida Dental in Lone Tree and they were great.
posted by toodleydoodley at 5:57 PM on February 13, 2010

because dentists are more often working for real money, compared to doctors, you can typically expect better customer service from a dentist than from a doctor, because they know a) you are paying them your own money and b) you can go somewhere else - no network, no problem.

This. I have known a number of people in your situation (including myself) and none of the dentists (or hygenists) these people went to were judgmental or difficult in any way. Who knows what they say about you in the break room to each other, but the days of evil, sadistic Orin Scirvellos are over. The hardest part - literally - is walking into the (nicely appointed) waiting room.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:21 PM on February 13, 2010

I went to the dentist for the first time last year after more than 10 years away. I'd tried to be conscientious about brushing, flossing, and such, but there were still more than a few cavities and gum problems, but the work it required over a few visits wasn't so bad.

As long as you can afford it, it probably won't be as terrifying as you might dread. Dentists and doctors get all sorts of patients, so you're just another number (and I mean that in a good way).

The only thing about my dentist is that he doesn't really get into detail about what kind of procedure he's about to do that day, and frankly, I think I prefer not knowing what kind of crazy stuff is going in my mouth that I can't see. Anyway, after you first get some work done, you'll feel a lot better about knowing your health is back on the right track.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 10:58 PM on February 13, 2010

Give a ring to your local women's crisis center, they likely have a list of easygoing service providors who they recommend to trauma survivors.
posted by Iteki at 1:50 AM on February 14, 2010

I've been to three dentists in the Denver area, all of them good. (I only switched because of my insurance switching networks due to changes at work.)

Terry Egert - struck me as the most gentle, patient and pleasant dentist I have ever had or could imagine, with a very calm and considerate chair-side manner. I don't have any dentist fears at all and consequently don't normally pay attention to this kind of thing but my wife (who hates the dentist) and I were quite taken with him.

Chandra Hohert - is Dr Egert's partner in the practice. We switched to her when our insurance changed rendering Dr. Egert out of network. She is wonderful also but doesn't quite have Dr Egert's touch. (To be clear, she's probably the second best dentist I have ever been to--but Dr Egert has soothing as a superpower.)

Heather Harris - my first dentist in Denver. Also a good dentist. No complaints. I prefer the atmosphere at Egert / Hohert though.
posted by NailsTheCat at 7:54 AM on February 14, 2010

I have a great dentist (I live in NY) but even so, I have a bit (read: FREAKING OUT) of a phobia. So I take a small dose of diazepam or alprazolam about twenty minutes before the appointment. I am in the same boat-- I didn't go for many years, and so need massive amounts of work. The pills help. Sorry I'm not familiar with your area, but if you're not averse to chemicals, it might help.
posted by exlotuseater at 4:42 PM on February 14, 2010

A lot of dentists are mindful of patient anxiety. Have you heard of dental spas? Their aim is to have a more positive experience.
posted by proficiency101 at 9:30 AM on February 15, 2010

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