The day of my 22nd birthday was my first day working as a Dentist. I was so excited to start work, to start helping people and to share my love of all thing’s teeth. You see, I loved going to the dentist as a child. I had the good fortune of seeing a range of lovely Dentists and Dental assistants who made the experience fun, social and happy. I like talking to people, what nicer way to meet new people than to have a chat about their teeth and how I can help them?
Well, back to that First Day. The first 8 patients I saw that day all said the same thing…
“ I hate the Dentist” Smash! They had never met me, but they felt so strongly that was the first thing they said. I replied, a little shocked, “But you’ve never met me before…” and it was then I realised not everyone had the great experiences I had as a child with Dentistry.
It was also then, I started to consider dentistry from the anxious patient’s point of view.
Going to the dentist is a unique experience. You walk in a room and lie down, open your mouth and strangers look in there. But for looking in the reflection of their glasses, you can’t see what is happening and sometimes it might be uncomfortable. It’s not hard to see how a child can feel overwhelmed or intimidated, and those are the same thoughts that come back to us as adults in the same setting.
My question to my patients who are afraid of dental treatment is to try and determine if there is one thing in particular that they are worried about, or if we can implement relaxation techniques and even pharmaceutical aids if required.
Some people don’t like the noise, some people don’t like needles, no one wants to be judged and are embarrassed of past neglect, sometimes you just don’t know, and fear can be irrational.
The first thing to realise is everyone is different, and there is no silver bullet. It may take thousands of good experiences to even make a dint in the memory so strong of the bad experiences of the past.
My goal in starting my own Dental surgery was to create an environment where patients feel comfortable. It starts from the first email or phone call. You need to build a relationship of open communication and trust. There is no judgement allowed in dentistry and I always encourage my patients to understand their own bodies to make informed decisions about their teeth and smile.
Here at Smile Studio Newstead, we allow enough time for our first meeting to be relaxed and inclusive of the patient. As your Dentist, I want to listen to your concerns, understand your dental and medical history and put together the puzzle of how you came to having the teeth you have today and how I can help you get the teeth and smile you want.