Dental Angst Conquered

Complete and compassionate care calms patient’s fear.

Things are really looking up for 29-year-old Zach McBride. He recently passed his general contractors exam, and he reports he will soon marry the love of his life. Before he says his marriage vows, however, Zach wanted to fulfill the vow he made to himself to remedy his troublesome smile.

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

Dr. Stephen Lester of Park Avenue Dentistry in Edgewater treated Zach McBride with crowns and bridges.

“My smile bothered me and made me uncomfortable,” admits the Edgewater native. “My teeth just looked bad. I had a lot of fillings, and they would leak and stain. My front tooth was chipped, and we couldn’t get a filling to stay in it. Other people said my smile wasn’t that bad, but I’d look in the mirror, and I could see it was awful.
“I always had soft teeth, but I was terrified of the dentist. I couldn’t stand to go. As a result, my teeth pretty much fell apart. They broke and I got cavities. I eventually went to the dentist and had fillings done, but many wouldn’t hold and came out. That just made my experience with dentists even worse.”
Zach’s fear of dentists wasn’t born from a previous bad encounter. He was apprehensive of the entire dental experience. Simply sitting in a dentist’s chair made him upset and anxious. The fear nearly paralyzed him. As a result, he put off dental care as long as he could.
“I would get toothaches that were so bad,” states Zach. “I wouldn’t completely ignore them. I’d go to the dentist and get stuff done, but I always waited until I couldn’t take the pain anymore.”
Once Zach made up his mind to fix his smile, he set out to find a dentist he could trust. One street over from his Edgewater home was Park Avenue Dentistry, the practice of Stephen P. Lester, DDS.
“I looked up Dr. Lester because I needed a dentist,” offers Zach. “He was right here in town, which appealed to me because I got that hometown feeling. I made an appointment to see Dr. Lester. I never met anybody like him before.
“He’s not one of those dentists who just runs in the door, gets the job done, then sends you on your way. He took his time and made sure it was a comfortable, pleasant experience for me.”
Dr. Lester started by repairing several minor problems with Zach’s teeth. Little by little, the dentist worked up to the major process of revitalizing Zach’s mouth.
“In the beginning of October, Dr. Lester placed nine crowns,” relates Zach. “It was a whole restoration of my upper teeth – and my smile.”

Relaxed Dentistry

When patients are fearful of the dentist, like Zach, they can opt for sedation during their dental procedures. At Park Avenue Dentistry, patients have several options for sedation from which to choose.
“Patients can choose nitrous oxide gas or oral sedation using pills,” notes Dr. Lester. “These are good choices for those who do not like needles, which are used with IV sedation. IV sedation is also called conscious sedation.
“With conscious sedation, as opposed to general anesthesia, patients are not totally put to sleep; they remain conscious. Their vital signs are unchanged, and they have complete control. They simply become very relaxed, and time passes quickly for them. Usually, patients remember little or nothing of their procedures the next day.”
“For the majority of my heavy work, I was sedated,” comments Zach. “But toward the end of the project, I was more willing to let Dr. Lester work without the sedation. I got comfortable, and I knew he would do whatever it took to make it a good experience.
“To be able to drive ten minutes from my house to Dr. Lester’s office, be sedated and have my dental work done is pretty amazing. It’s also amazing that Dr. Lester does all the work in his office.”
By consistently updating his education, Dr. Lester has become skilled in many facets of dentistry. As a result, he can offer most specialty dental services at Park Avenue Dentistry, saving his patients from traveling to multiple dentists for multiple appointments.
“I do maintain good relationships with specialists in the area,” he emphasizes. “In those extraordinary cases that require their expertise, I will refer my patients to them. Most of the work, however, is done in my office for the patient’s convenience.”

Anxiety Overcome

For the past six years, Zach’s been running heavy equipment and driving trucks. It’s good work, but it doesn’t come with great dental benefits. Lucky for him, Park Avenue Dentistry offers its Value Plan, a program for patients without dental coverage.
“The Value Plan is not insurance,” stresses Dr. Lester. “It is a discount plan, and by signing up, patients can get free cleanings, x-rays and emergency exams. They also get discounted rates on other dental services. Zach used it to score big savings on his smile restoration project.”

“My experience with Dr. Lester was worth every penny and every minute of being in the dental chair. What he created for me is really impressive.”-Zach

“I’m very happy with my results,” reports Zach. “Everyone who has seen the crowns likes them. My fiancée loves them. They look very natural.
“Dr. Lester and I went through several different shades to figure out the color we wanted. We didn’t want the crowns to be too bright and white or they’d be out of place. He took several molds of my teeth to get them to look just right.”
The effort was worth it. Zach is absolutely thrilled with his restored smile, and he’s a lot happier with the way he looks in the mirror now.
“My experience with Dr. Lester was worth every penny and every minute of being in the dental chair. What he created for me is really impressive.”
What’s more impressive is that Dr. Lester’s gentle, sensitive approach made Zach so relaxed, he was able to overcome his paralyzing fear of dentists.
“I’m absolutely comfortable now,” Zach shares. “Dr. Lester and his staff are very good people, and they make me feel like I’m at home. When I walk through the door at Park Avenue Dentistry, I don’t get that nervous, dentist’s-office feeling that I just want to get out of there. When I walk into Dr. Lester’s office, I know they’re going to take good care of me.
“I’m very happy Dr. Lester is my dentist. It’s truly amazing how good he is!”

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