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Dr. Michael W. Stuart

Dr. Craig E. Stannebein

2700 Grand Avenue, Suite D. Billings, MT 59102

Monday - Thursday 8am-5pm
Friday by Appointment Only

(406) 794-3114

Helping You Deal With Dental Anxiety | Billings, MT

  • November 11, 2015

If you are afraid of the dentist, you are in good company. An estimated 20 percent of people only go to the dentist when it’s absolutely necessary, according to Dr. Peter Milgrom of the Dental Fears Research Clinic.

Likewise, 5 to 8 percent of Americans completely avoid going to the dentist because of their fears. And another third of Americans are anxious about visiting the dentist.

When you add that all together, nearly half of Americans experience some level of dental anxiety.

At Legacy Smiles in Billings, we know the dentist can be scary. The dentist or hygienist looks into your mouth as you lay back in a strange chair. Depending on your needs, “the drill” or a needle may be required. Just thinking about it can be unpleasant.

Even if you are anxious, you probably know that seeing the dentist is important for you oral health. Thankfully, we can assist you, and hopefully, together we can help you overcome your fears.

Our approach

We know that dental fear can make you apprehensive to visit to the dentist. That’s why we take a personal approach with all our patients.

Before we do any procedure, we want you to know that we understand how you are feeling. It’s our goal to do everything possible to help you feel at ease.

We all feel more relaxed when we are comfortable. That’s why we provide contoured neck pillows, heated blankets, and headphones if you’d like to listen to music. We do what we can to make your visit a little easier.

Before we begin we will explain what we will be doing for you and take time to answer any questions you may have. Sometimes knowing what will happen and why it’s happening makes it easier to handle.

If you feel uncomfortable at any point during your visit, just let us know. We can always take a break if that will be best for you.

What if you need more than a few creature comforts to relieve your tension? We have ways to help with that, too.

Sedation dentistry

Some people get stressed just thinking about going to the dentist. The idea of sitting in the chair can be enough to keep some people from ever making an appointment with us.

That puts them at a higher risk of need some kind of emergency care in the future. We would much rather see you long before you develop a problem that is too serious to ignore.

Even if you make an appointment, you may find you have trouble sitting still. This is where sedation dentistry can help.

You may have heard of sedation dentistry, but you may not know what it is or how it works. We’ll explain.

Merriam-Webster defines sedation as “a relaxed, calm, or sleepy condition that results from taking a drug.” At Legacy Smiles we offer four types of sedation for our patients. They are:

1. Nitrous oxide – You probably know this better as “laughing gas”. This is safe for children and adults, and it effectively relieves anxiety.

2. Oral conscious sedation – With this type of sedation, you will take a pill. Like the laughing gas, this will allow you to relax and remain calm throughout your procedure.

3. IV sedation – For patients who need something stronger to feel comfortable, we offer IV sedation. A licensed professional will administer this form of sedation to ensure your safety. This kind of sedation will put you to sleep throughout your procedure.

4. General anesthesia – This is the strongest form of sedation we offer. This is used when you have to undergo a longer, more complex procedure. A general anesthesiologist will administer this if it is needed.

Many patients who undergo sedation don’t remember their procedures at all. This goes a long way toward easing their fears.

Please remember, you should arrange for someone else to drive you to and from your visit if you decide to undergo sedation.

Caring for you

When you walk in the front door, we want you to know that our staff cares about your comfort. You will feel our concern for you and receive kindness from the moment you enter our office.

Our experienced staff has worked with lots of patients over the years who have shared some of your same fears. They understand that some patients need a little more attention, and that is OK.

We’re just as concerned about you as we are about your mouth. Please, let us work with you in providing your dental care.

We welcome you to call 406-794-3114 and schedule an appointment at our office. We are located at 2700 Grand Avenue, Suite D, in Billings.


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