A good dentist for people afraid of going to the dentist?

woman at the dentistA asks via Twitter:

I have real, severe, serious fear of the dentist. But I have to go. Recommendations [for] who will treat me accordingly?

It's been a few years since we've had a question about dentists. And A is looking for someone who can help ease her anxiety about being in the dental chair. (Sometimes the right person and a little bedside manner can make all the difference.)

So... know of good dentist for A? Please share. Non-redeemable bonus points will be awarded for answers that include a bit of explanation about what makes that dentist/dental office good.

Earlier on AOA:
+ Ask AOA: A good dentist? (2010)
+ Ask AOA: A good oral surgeon? (2010)

photo: Flickr user Betsssssy (cc)

Comments

I can relate to this problem on some level, though I manage to get to the dentist twice a year for routine cleaning. However, when something more invasive has to happen (cavity filled, or my first crown ever this year), I needed more than a calm chair side manner. I needed nitrous oxide. So you kind of have to figure out what you personally need to allay your anxiety. I like drugs. I'm not recommending my dentist (he's fine -- a good technician) because I don't think he's got any special talent or empathy for dealing with fear. But he's got the nitrous oxide tank(apparently some dentists don't use nitrous) when I ask for it so it's okay.

And I'm sure A already knows and practices this -- but those of us with dental phobia need to practice super good dental hygiene at home to cut down on the need for dental work.

I love my dentist! I had a terrible dentist as a kid (not in this area), it's amazing that I've ever gone as an adult! Dr. Pastrana and his whole staff are so nice. They're caring and thoughtful, I always feel at ease. It's also the most painless dentistry I've ever experienced (except for that one time I went WAY too long in between cleanings and that plaque was my fault, not theirs - they did their best!). Dr. Pastrana really listens and he's a funny guy.

Dr. Richard Pastrana
85 Schoolhouse Rd
Albany, NY 12203
(518) 456-3000

I have feared the dentist since I was 4 years old. I'm not telling you how exactly old I am now; suffice it to say I've had so much dental/orthodontal/periodontal work over the last decades I know a good dentist when I find one. Dr. Pasquale Scelso, of Columbia Dental Associates in Valatie, understands how to help a dentist-o-phobe feel comfortable, both physically and psychologically. And he has a wicked sense of humor.The office is friendly and relaxed. Very good hygenists as well. If this office is geographically convenient you might want to give Dr. Scelso a try.

Guys, I also have a dentist question. I am not afraid of the dentist, but I just moved up here and need a good one that takes my (state) insurance. I have always had really great dentists that do all the cleaning themselves and are just super amazing. I don't know where to start!

I agree with Valerae: Dr. Pastrana is the best! I have severe anxiety about dental procedures. Dr. Pastrana has a very calm and reassuring way about him that makes any procedure possible. Over the many years I have been going to his practice, I remain amazed that his office always runs on time. His staff is wonderful as well.

@Steph. First the bad news: a lot of local dentists don't take the state insurance. People here can give you suggestions, but also you can get a list of local dentists who do take the insurance by going to the GHI website (or whoever the state insurer is now) and putting in your zip code.

I go to Dr. Perry who is with First Advantage Dental (see my comment above -- he's a good technician, which I want in a dentist: the crown he made me is perfect, and he's a nice enough guy). First Advantage has multiple locations and takes the insurance. However, I did get a second opinion when he told me I needed a crown (this after my other dentist who finally retired never said a word about possible work that needed to be done). So I went to another local practice and that dentist said I needed FIVE crowns. I asked my sister (a dentist in Oregon) how I could be getting such widely different advice (no crown, one crown, five crowns) and she said there is a continuum on how conservative or aggressive dentists are in treating issues that may or may not actually become problems in the future. Some dentists are all about "wait and see" and some will slap a crown on anything and everything. Dr. Perry is in the middle and I appreciate his moderate views. The problem with "wait and see" is if a vulnerable tooth breaks, you might not be able to fix it without extensive work.

I find it unlikely you'll find a dentist who takes the insurance and does the cleaning him or herself in this area. That's not going to be cost effective when the state insurance makes relatively low reimbursements for their time. I don't know if some small practice would still have the dentist doing his or her own cleaning, but people like that usually don't take insurance. I've had lots of good hygienists clean my teeth.

I go to Dr. Greg Libertore in Saratoga. I live in Schenectady but drive up there because he is so good and has eased my anxiety about the dentist. I used to get stress-induced stomach aches for days before because of how anxious I was about it. He is pricey though.

I highly recommend Dr. Christopher Walsh in Guilderland. I get very anxious about going to the dentist as well, but was immediately put at ease by how nice every single person in that office was (reception, hygienist, and Dr. Walsh).

Dr. Christopher Walsh, DDS
1829 Western Avenue
Albany, NY 12203

https://plus.google.com/115575316775846626759/about?gl=us&hl=en

I started going here a couple of years ago at a recommendation of a friend.

They have been wonderful. They have different hygienists but all have been super gentle. I had cavities filled there and it was a painless process. I have told this to my friends and I have told the dentist himself after my last cavity that he was the first dentist I didn't dread going to and that I hoped he took that has a compliment.

I think they accept state insurance but I would double check. I also used to pay out of pocket because I didn't have dental insurance and never remembered the prices being unreasonable.

Dr. Debra Check in Latham (435 Troy-Schenectady near Scully Ave).

Her hygienist is very nice and gentle and she herself takes her time, has small hands (rather than having your jaw unhinged by some guy with catchers mitts for hands), and is calm and gentle even when doing filings. I don't have dental coverage but have no problem shelling out of pocket for her.

Bill Primomo at Primomo & Herzog in Albany is great.

651dental.com

I cry as soon as I sit in a dental chair. I found my lovely dentist by accident. We got new insurance and I needed to find a dentist who took it. I came across Dr. Tariq Malik at Albany Upstate Dental on Broadway. His staff are so friendly and he is the kindest and gentlest dentist I've had. I have had two root canals and crown fitted since I started going and I recommend his practice.

I've been going to Comfort Dental in East Greenbush. They are very patient and matter of fact with my shaking and crying fits during cleanings. They also give me a prescription for Xanax to take when the drill comes out. (I normally have a fear of mind altering drugs, but the dental fear overrides it. Xanax is like indifference in pill form.) I've had several dentists over my lifetime, and this one and his hygienists are comparatively very gentle and very FAST.

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