Meet Dr. Richard Petrilli
Do you have questions about dental care? Dentists, unsurprisingly, have the best answers.
Of course, you probably don’t feel like quizzing your dentist when you’re sitting in the chair with your mouth full of fingers, machinery and/or gauze. So send us your questions, we’ll ask a dentist, and then post the questions and answers here every month.
We figured there’s no better time to begin than on National Dentist Day. Our first dentist is Dr. Richard Petrilli, of Apopka, Florida. We asked him about dental anxiety, insurance and alternative ways to pay for dental treatment, what dentists could be doing better, and why it’s so important to have a healthy, strong smile.
Dr. Petrilli, how important is dental care to a patient’s overall health?
Crucially important. Periodontal disease can cause a host of problems, and can also exacerbate other health issues. Plus, our mental health greatly benefits from self-confidence and being happy with the way we look – a beautiful smile goes a long way in boosting our self-confidence!
What could dentists do differently to help patients achieve better oral health?
We can better educate dental patients on the importance of professional dental care, routine cleanings, and how to maintain their oral health at home. We can also educate patients on the fact that dental x-rays are not detrimental, and that they actually help to better improve your overall health by diagnosing decay, fractures, and periodontal disease.
Treating Dental Anxiety
How do you help a patient who has dental anxiety?
We do our best to read a patient by noticing body language, how quickly they talk, etc. If a patient is behaving anxiously or mentions that they have a huge fear of the dentist, we slow down. We explain things using terms that they will understand. We tell them flat out that we are here to hold their hand through the whole process, and that we will do anything we can to put their minds at ease.
How often do you consider sedation for anxious patients?
We see a lot of highly anxious patients, and we will suggest a conscious sedation if they need major restorative work done.
Common Dental Concerns
What dental treatment do people want, but typically opt not to get?
Almost everyone who comes in to the office wants whiter teeth, but many people don’t want to pay for bleaching or any restorative work to make their teeth whiter.
What advice would you give a new mother about her child’s dental care?
We do not see children, but we advise parents to take their children to a pediatric dentist to get comfortable there around 2-3 years. We recommended introducing them to a tooth brush and fluoride free toothpaste as soon as their first teeth come in.
Dental Care Costs
What advice do you give patients who can’t afford dental care?
If they don’t have dental insurance, or even if they have high priced insurance, we refer them to :DentalPlans! Also, in the office, we offer no-interest payment plans.
If patients still can’t stretch the budget to get the necessary full treatment right away, we recommend that they start by addressing a specific problem, such as getting composite fillings to help halt tooth decay or treatment for gum disease. We always say ‘Rome wasn’t built it in a day – so all problems do not have to be fixed today.’ We start with what is reasonable for them, and we offer them as many options as possible.
Dr. Petrilli has been serving the Apopka area for over 20 years. He specializes in general and restorative dentistry. He and his team really love helping people to look and feel their best. To find out more, visit www.petrillidmd.com.
Planning to visit Dr. Petrilli? Then we have a special offer for you! Take 15% off plus get a free month on any dental savings plan accepted by Dr. Petrilli’s office. Just visit http://www.dentalplans.com/mydentist and enter code “Petrilli.”