Burr Ridge dentist finds new way to relax patients
Paul Denemark of Denemark Periodontal in one of the operating rooms. | Vincent D. Johnson~for Sun-Times Media
Practice: Denemark Periodontal
Address: 570 Village Center Drive Suite 202-B, Burr Ridge.
Phone: (603) 654-4141.
Education: Paul Denemark studied dentistry at University of Illinois College of Dentistry and periodontics at Undiana University School of Dentistry. He earned a master of science in dentistry from Indiana University.
Updated: January 14, 2013 4:48PM
BURR RIDGE — For many people a trip to the dentist is like, well, a trip to the dentist.
The level of apprehension increases significantly if major procedures such as oral surgery are involved. But Paul J. Denemark and his staff have done much to change that with two innovations he has adopted into his dental practice in Burr Ridge: laser surgery and a patented four step procedure called NuCalm that has largely displaced conventional sedation and pain numbing methods.
Laser surgery has largely replaced scalpel surgery in Denemark’s practice since he began using the technique in February. He has used the noninvasive, drug-free NuCalm procedure in place of conventional pain numbing and sedation in many of his patients for the past three years.
“The human body is a powerful thing. It’s (NuCalm) like a light switch that we can use to let the body help itself,” Denemark said.
Unlike hypnosis, constant monitoring is not involved to maintain a patient in a NuCalm relaxed state, Denemark said. And unlike conventional sedation, patients can drive home on their own after completing dental procedures.
The NuCalm process begins by administering a chewable tablet containing gamma aminobutyric acid and cheanine. Denemark said these two compounds are naturally occurring neurotransmitter substances in the human body that help combat the natural fight or flight impulse of adrenaline.
The second step involves placing a cranial electrotherapy stimulation device behind the patient’s ears. This phase produces a low level electric current that further calms the patient. Similar devices are used for individuals suffering from sleep disorders and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Denemark said.
The third step often holds special appeal to younger patients. Denemark has the patient wear headphones that play music. What the patients don’t hear, but what further relaxes them, is the alpha frequency programmed into the music. This phase of the process produces what Denemark calls a “pre sleep” mode.
The final step involves having the patient wear light blocking eye coverings, to eliminate the limbic reaction to seeing the drill enter the mouth. With the limbic state, “You’re in a lizard state; you’re in a dinosaur state,” Denemark explained.
The NuCalm treatment is not suitable for every patient. Denemark said patients with electrical implants such as pacemakers and Cochlear implants, pregnant women and children under age 12 should avoid the treatment.
But the results for Denemark have been good. He cited one extremely frightened patient who started crying even before he began doing any actual work on her mouth. Denemark used the NuCalm technique to relax the patient sufficiently so that she could rationally discuss the treatment he suggested.
Denemark also uses NuCalm on himself as a relaxation technique if he has had a particularly stressful week in the office.
“It’s like resetting the hard drive on your computer,” he explained.