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Tarun Agarwal, DDS

8304 Creedmoor Road
Raleigh, NC 27613
Telephone: (919) 870-7645

Overcoming Dental Phobia:
New Wonders of Dentistry

Dr. Tarun Agarwal, of Raleigh Dental Arts on Creedmoor Road, has a national and international reputation as a master of dental technology and continues, on a regular basis, to teach other dentists from throughout the country the most effective methods for using a range of amazing new tool.

Dr. Agarwal shares a photo of teeth that need a great deal of attention.

Along with this display of technological brilliance resides a very caring presence.

“In light of our pretty remarkable abilities to quickly and successfully treat virtually any kind of dental issue,” Dr. Agarwal observes, “I’m still stunned by the fact that an estimated 50 percent of the population avoids seeing a dentist like the plague—because of dental phobia, of unrelenting fear. That’s about half of all the people in the country who need and would benefit from regular dental care. And, by the way, dental health is also often related to many other health conditions. At times we are considering critical issues, such as identifying the early signs of oral cancer.”

Addressing Fear, Changing Technologies

“Abating fear is a critical issue in our practice,” he notes. “We all want to avoid pain—physical, mental, or emotional. And in that context, sedation dentistry is truly a wonder. We can easily and dependably make patients feel completely comfortable throughout their entire dental experience with a couple of small pills. It’s exactly what I do for myself, if there is a need, when it comes time for my own regular dental checkup.

“One of the most frequent reactions I get from patients who have been with us for some time is that ‘this is a different type of practice,’ and the fact is that today, in 2017, I’m not practicing anything like I did in 2001—not remotely the same. And I offer this analogy: how many people are using the same cell phone now that they did 16 years ago? The technological changes have been monumental in this past decade.

“Dentistry of course has also evolved rapidly and remarkably in this digital age. Today we’re doing three- dimensional X-rays here in the office, for example. And these new tools have a huge impact on our efficiency and effectiveness.

“We’re all so busy. And we certainly don’t want to make return trips to our dentist when a new crown can be produced for us in a very brief time, in a single visit. We want to walk in with a problem, walk out with it fixed—aesthetically and optimally for dental health purposes.”

Conquering Dental Phobia

And in the context of truly amazing dental technological developments, fear continues to hold its grip on a great number of people in need of dental care. Norma Fanfan was one of those people, but no more.

Norma Fanfan

“I readily admit it,” she says. “For a very long time I had dental phobia—almost paralyzing fear at the prospect of going to the dentist. And not without reason. I had a number of really bad experiences with dentists in the past. It got to the point where I would go to the dentist, and just walking in the door brought on a panic attack. So I would turn around and walk out.

“As a consequence, as I moved into my fifties, the condition of my teeth got steadily worse. I had a few root canals that were simply rotting away. And I was losing a lot of teeth: all of them on the top, where I wore a denture, and most of them on the bottom. All remaining teeth were in pretty bad shape. Even the denture was coming apart.

“I drove by Dr. Agarwal’s office, at Raleigh Dental Arts, every day on my way to work, and slowly—very slowly—I was building up the nerve to stop in for a consultation. And finally the day came, I went up the front steps, through the door—and my life changed in dramatic ways!

“I could hardly believe the kindness and competence of everyone I met, without exception, especially of course including Dr. A—as everyone called him. It seems everyone had a deep understanding of the nature and root causes of dental phobia: the absolute terror it often involves.

Norma Fanfan's smile:
before and after.

“Dr. A was so generous with his time and attention. He patiently explained all of my options, and together, over some time, we came up with a detailed plan of how to proceed. He was so sensitive to all of my concerns: emotional, physical, financial, cosmetic, and he addressed all of them with great success. He told me it would take a full year to accomplish all the details of our plan, and that proved to be exactly right.

“My new sparkling teeth have given me a new, sparkling life. It’s the best personal investment I’ve ever made.”

The Doctor’s Perspective

“It continues to be a joy to work with Norma Fanfan,” says Dr. Agarwal. “When Norma first came to us, her overall dental health was at a very low level. Her fear of dentists and dental treatment had driven her down an unfortunate path, with very bad consequences. You could easily pick up her dismay in the way she looked, in her face, her smile, her very subdued demeanor.

“When I have a patient such as Norma who has dental issues that are affecting their self-esteem—basically how they function in life—it’s a very good feeling to know you can offer them a path to something of great significance.

“I think this is one of the great strengths of our office: to be able to take a complex case such as this, and then, working with the patient, develop a plan in terms of time, procedures, and cost—and deliver that plan with a blue ribbon tied around it, exactly as it was designed.

“When Norma first came to us, she had an existing upper denture in very bad shape, no upper teeth, and a few bottom teeth in a state of disrepair. Even in a case like this, there are always options, and we discussed them in detail.

“We made Norma a beautiful new upper denture—we have techniques to make upper dentures fit really nicely—and we placed two lower implants to hold a new lower denture. What a great difference this makes! We ended up with a finished new smile where no one can tell these are not Norma’s own teeth (see photos). They are simply beautiful and natural looking. She tells us she is getting a lot of positive feedback from friends and family. It’s a life-changing event for her, nothing less.”