What Training Does an Elgin Dentist Need to Help Anxious Patients?

elgin dentist CE apple and book

I’m curious to know if dentists in Elgin need to have some sort of special training to work with anxious patients. I’m trying to find a good office for my boyfriend because he’s dealing with a toothache and has been refusing to have it treated. He won’t explain why, but his mom told me he had a bad experience when he was a kid and has been refusing to go ever since. He just kind of limps along and only eats soft foods now and lives off Tylenol. I can’t make heads or tails out of what the different practices are offering and how the levels of expertise vary. I got curious and started trying to find out how credentialing is handled as well, but it’s not really clear as to whether things are handled at a local, state, or federal level. It seems some of the laws are related to the city, while the state maybe handles most of it? I don’t know. I just want to make sure I find the right place for my boyfriend and I think if I can explain why one might be better than the other, I can convince him to go.

Thank you,


Dear Rachel.

Whether you choose a dentist in Elgin, Gilberts, Saint Charles, Hampshire, or even Chicago for that matter, the regulations are roughly the same. Local municipalities tend to focus more on how business is carried out, whereas the tougher regulations on how dentistry is practiced are usually handled at a state level. Here in Illinois, licensure is determined by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation or IDFPR. They decide who can practice as well as which professionals are licensed to provide sedation services and provide/ prescribe controlled substances, which can be a part of helping anxious patients. They also require dentists to pursue continuing education in order to retain their licenses, though do not specify what courses need to be taken. However, they do not regulate who can and cannot see anxious patients. Nobody does.

So, how do you compare the skills of Elgin dentists if the area you’re concerned about is not regulated? Well, not everybody markets their practices as such, to begin with. The doctor who goes out of his way to say he “caters to cowards” or something similar is intentionally letting people know he’s glad to help, and that’s a good start.

You can also ask questions about what continuing education courses the dentist takes. The minimum requirement is 48 hours in a 3-year-period to maintain a license, but some go the extra mile. For example, Dr. Sirin has been known to take more than 130 hours in a single year.

It’s worthwhile to see if the office offers nitrous oxide too. It helps keep people relaxed and would be a natural fit in an office that routinely cares for anxious patients.

Ultimately, your boyfriend will have to get the tooth treated; it’s just a question of whether he does it on his own terms at a time that’s convenient or whether he waits until it really blows up and has to go with whoever can get him in at that moment. If he starts looking now, he can spend a little time getting to know the doctor before any work is done. Hopefully, that will give him enough time to become comfortable and develop a relationship, so he not only gets this tooth fixed, but gets a full exam and starts on any other necessary treatment, so he can avoid toothaches in the future.

This blog is sponsored by Elgin dentist Dr. Steve Sirin. Dr. Sirin offers same-day dental emergency appointments plus provides a welcoming and relaxing environment for those who struggle with anxiety.

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