Double Delight

Dentophobe gains new smile and loses fear of dentists.

When Lorraine Kent, 71, was a young girl, she had a frightening experience with an uncaring dentist. That experience tainted her opinion of all dentists well into adulthood. The fear it created kept her from visiting a dentist regularly, which affected her overall dental health.

Dr. Bryan Griffith at Griffith Dental in Port Richey gave Lorraine Kent a full mouth reconstruction for a complete smile makeover. At the same time, he eliminated her fear of dentists.

Lorraine Kent

“I was about twelve when I had a bad dentist who continually hurt me,” Lorraine shares. “He just kept saying I was being a baby. After the third time going to him, I screamed and yelled, and told my mother I wasn’t going to the dentist anymore.

“I’ve been terrified of dentists ever since. And I do mean terrified. I waited until I needed a lot of dental work done before I went to the dentist because I was so scared. I’d go, get done what needed to be done and not go to the dentist again for a long time.”

Last year, Lorraine found herself in a situation of really needing to visit a dentist. The bridgework she had in her mouth for many years was deteriorating, and she was in distress. Lorraine was dismayed by the appearance of the dental work, and her natural teeth were also showing signs of wear.

“I had the bridgework made about thirty years ago,” Lorraine recalls. “I had quite a bit of it, throughout my whole mouth. There were bridges all across on the top and bottom in the front.

“As I got older, my gums began to shrink, and at the top of my mouth, there was a brown area instead of the bridge enamel. I was uncomfortable with my smile, although it didn’t stop me from smiling and laughing.

“My bottom teeth were pretty ground down because of the porcelain bridgework on top. I was told porcelain teeth naturally grind down regular teeth with chewing and biting because they’re harder.”

Lorraine resigned herself to knowing that her bridgework needed to be recreated and her teeth required attention. She asked some friends which dentist they use, and they recommended Bryan Griffith, DMD, of Griffith Dental in Port Richey.

After gathering up the courage to make an appointment, Lorraine learned that not only was Dr. Griffith a skilled dental craftsman, he and his team were also very sensitive to fearful patients.

“The person on the phone was so nice, and everyone was friendly from the moment I walked in,” Lorraine remembers. “They’re all fantastic, including Dr. Griffith, who is always smiling and pleasant. They even asked me what kind of music I wanted to listen to. They helped me feel a little more comfortable. But I was still terrified.

“The first thing they did for me was a cleaning, and before they even started, I was clutching the seat so hard with my hands that the hygienist knew I was very nervous. But she talked to me and said, If at any time you feel even the slightest thing, let me know and I’ll stop immediately. That was comforting.

“I was so scared that I think the Griffith Dental staff wasn’t sure I’d come back after that, but because they cared enough to realize that I was scared and did whatever they could to relieve my fears, I got up the nerve and made plans to go back after that appointment.”

After her cleaning, Dr. Griffith completed a comprehensive evaluation of Lorraine’s dental situation and recommended a treatment plan for her.

“Lorraine presented some challenges, both cosmetic and functional,” Dr. Griffith reports. “We recommended a full mouth reconstruction, a smile makeover, but because of her fear, one of the most important things for us to do was to gain her trust so that we could bring her to a happy place with her smile.”

Smile Makeover

The treatment plan Dr. Griffith created addressed all of Lorraine’s dental needs.

Dr. Bryan Griffith at Griffith Dental in Port Richey gave Lorraine Kent a full mouth reconstruction for a complete smile makeover. At the same time, he eliminated her fear of dentists.

Before & After Dental Treatment

“Lorraine’s smile makeover required restoring both function and beauty using all-ceramic crowns and ceramic bridges on both upper and lower arches,” describes Dr. Griffith. “Ceramic crowns and bridges are highly aesthetic, but also very functional. We added more functional areas for Lorraine to chew with.

“Through reconstruction, we were able to close spaces in her teeth, straighten crooked teeth and improve the color of her teeth. Her natural teeth remained underneath the crowns, so we preserved her root structure.”

When doing a whole mouth reconstruction and smile makeover, Dr. Griffith begins by creating a wax-up of the patient’s teeth. The wax-up serves as a plan for the work to be done. With it, the dentist, his team and their patient can set goals for the finished bridgework.

“We sit down and show the wax-up to the patient and talk with them about what they don’t like about their smile,” Dr. Griffith explains. “We use it to show them the direction we’re going to take with their reconstruction. We partner with the patient so they know what to expect.”

The day of treatment is often a big day for patients because
Dr. Griffith reconstructs a whole arch in one day. At the end of the appointment, patients leave with provisional, or temporary, bridgework.

“The provisional is essentially a picture of what we’re going to give them as a final product,” Dr. Griffith states. “It serves as a working model on which we can change the shape, color or other feature if the patients don’t like what we have.

“Using the provisional, patients can communicate their expectations, which ensures we hit a home run with the final bridgework. Then, when they get the finished product, there are no surprises to anyone.”

Listening and Communicating

Dr. Griffith firmly believes “only the best people will do in every area.” He builds his team based on that statement. Because he does, he has a team that’s able to make connections with fearful patients and identify the real issues behind their fears.

“Our team communicates well and takes time to hear our patients’ stories,” Dr. Griffith observes. “There’s a lot more to broken teeth for some people. Fear often cripples patients from correcting problems when they are small, This results in everything being more involved and many times more costly.

“We do our very best to take time with and listen to our patients. It’s not about rushing people through, but stopping and really figuring out what’s going on. We’ve learned that if we take our time with people, they’re reasonable and real, just like their history is real to them.”

A section in Dr. Griffith’s vision statement says, “Our team is distinctly committed to growing relationships.” To Dr. Griffith, that means a relationship with a patient for life, not just for the time it takes to correct their dental problem.

“Growing a relationship with fearful patients means that we take the time to learn about them and talk about their fears,” Dr. Griffith says. “That’s a big part of an emotional journey we walk the patients through. In the long run, the patients benefit.”

For Lorraine, Dr. Griffith concentrated on building a relationship of trust. It took time, but his efforts proved successful.

“Little by little, every time I went, my hands weren’t clenched so hard on the seat,” Lorraine discloses. “By the time Dr. Griffith finished all the work that needed to be done, I couldn’t wait to go back to Griffith Dental and see everybody.”Dr. Bryan Griffith at Griffith Dental in Port Richey gave Lorraine Kent a full mouth reconstruction for a complete smile makeover. At the same time, he eliminated her fear of dentists.

For all his patients, but especially for fearful ones, Dr. Griffith has options that help them relax and be more comfortable.

“For example, we offer various types of anesthesia that can make patients more comfortable during procedures,” Dr. Griffith confirms. “We use forms such as nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, and any adjuncts if patients need it. We consider every option to make them more comfortable.”

No More Fear

Since her whole mouth reconstruction and smile makeover, Lorraine is feeling on top of the world. She’s extremely pleased with the result of Dr. Griffith’s dental work and sings the praises of the dentist and his staff.

“My new teeth are gorgeous!” Lorraine marvels. “They’re so beautiful. When I look in the mirror now, I think, Oh my God, that’s how I looked when I was in my thirties.

“I’m happy the work is finished and I’ve gotten to meet so many wonderful people who work in that dental office. I feel like they’re family. They’re all so nice and friendly, always smiling and laughing. They’re just a cut above any office I’ve ever been in.”

While Lorraine is delighted with the outcome of her dental work, she’s ecstatic about her new opinion of dentists. She’s amazed by the turnaround in her attitude toward going to the dentist.

“I can clearly say that I no longer have a fear of dentists due to the care of the staff at Griffith Dental and especially
Dr. Griffith,” Lorraine declares. “I recommend them to everybody I know. If you want a dentist, that’s where you should go, and if you’re even the slightest bit afraid of dentists, Griffith Dental is where you want to be.”

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    • Griffith Dental

      Dr. Bryan Griffith and their team take care to explain everything in detail, from corrective options to financing alternatives, and maximize your comfort at all times. Their vision states, “Our team pays attention to the finest detail... Read More

    • Bryan N. Griffith, DMD, P.A.

      Bryan N. Griffith, DMD, P.A., began his education with an Associate of Arts degree from Pasco-Hernando State College. He then earned a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of South Florida and his Doctorate in Medical Dentistry in... Read More