The thought alone of going to the dentist can induce anxiety, which is why many adults put it off until there’s a problem that can no longer be ignored.
"There are just so many people who are afraid of going to the dentist and are embarrassed to talk about it," said Dr. David Potts, owner of Lake County Dental Care.
His Libertyville practice, established in 1974, specializes in diminishing the stress of fearful patients through oral conscious sedation, so they can get the care they need.
"I've done tens of thousands of sedations. It's definitely something I'm known for," said Dr. Potts, who received enough training to become a fellow of the Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation.
Though he’s licensed in IV sedation, Dr. Potts prefers oral sedation, which he believes is safer and just as effective for a variety of procedures, from fillings and extractions to root canals and dental implants.
Patients are given oral medication to take the night before their procedure, then another dose when they arrive at the office. Years of experience help Dr. Potts assess whether a patient is sufficiently sedated and ready for treatment.
Most patients can have multiple procedures completed in a single session.
“We can sedate you and do much of your work where you remember little or nothing,” Dr. Potts said.
Face your fear
Patient Allan Hirsch, of Riverwoods, has always feared going to the dentist.
“I had to psych myself up to go,” he said.
A recent toothache led Hirsch to book an appointment with Dr. Potts, whom he’d visited 15 years ago for a tooth extraction.
Hirsch admits he was still nervous. “I thought it was going to be really terrible. I thought I’d be in all kinds of pain and hear all kinds of noises and drills, but I got up the courage and went.”
Good thing, because Hirsch had more going on than a toothache.
“I ended up having two wisdom teeth pulled, one root canal and a couple crowns all done at once,” he said. “I got there at 7 a.m. and the next thing I knew it was lunchtime. I didn’t feel a thing. I didn’t hear a thing. There was really no pain at all. It was truly amazing.”
Though it was “a ton of work to get done all at once,” Hirsch said it is the best option for anyone who’s fearful of the dentist.
“Everybody at every stage of the way explains what they’re doing. They make you feel very relaxed and comfortable.”
Given his positive experience with Dr. Potts, Hirsch said he’ll no longer put off going to the dentist. “Two weeks out and it’s like a distant memory. I have no pain. My teeth look great and feel great.”
Dr. Potts has established a reputation for being a dentist dedicated to keeping on top of technical advances and providing patients with the latest treatments.
“My whole career I’ve been a constant student,” he said.
Dr. Potts attends over 100 hours of continuing education each year, six times what the state of Illinois requires, and has taken multiple courses in complex restorative dentistry at the Pankey Institute and Dawson Academy. He has also pursued extensive training in dental implants, cosmetic dental services and major reconstructive services, and is the founder of two nationwide dental study groups.
In addition to oral conscious sedation, Lake County Dental Care offers laser-assisted gum treatments, tooth-colored fillings, orthodontic services including Invisalign and FastBraces, endodontic care and treatment for sleep apnea.
“I see us continuing to stay at the forefront of technology in the future just as we always have done historically,” Dr. Potts said.
What he enjoys most, though, is helping people “whether it’s keeping their mouths healthy for a lifetime, improving their smile, straightening or replacing teeth.”
Learn more at www.libertyvilledentist.com.