Is it possible to enjoy your trip to the dentist?
Lets face it, not many people look forward to visiting their dentist. A trip to the dentist usually conjures up images of pain, anxiety, needles, drills and someone trying to have a conversation with you while your mouth is wide open! As dentists, we hear patients saying “it’s not you, I just don’t like dentists!” But with today’s technology and sympathetic techniques, is it possible to actually enjoy stress-free dental treatment?
It is my belief that a lot of dental fear originates from trips to the old fashioned “school dentist” who struck fear into a whole generation of patients with primitive techniques and lack of a kind bedside manner. So I would like to attempt to allay fears about dentists and outline some of the techniques we use at The Raglan Suite to make the treatment journey as comfortable as possible – perhaps even enjoyable!
Pain free dentistry
A fear of needles has to top of the list of common patient concerns. In most cases we can give injections far more comfortably than you expect. We use powerful gels that numb the gum before we even give the injection, but even without these, we also use other techniques whereby the first our patients realise there’s been an injection is when they start to feel numb. It’s all down to technique and skill – even in areas considered to be more uncomfortable, such as the roof of the mouth and under the nose.
Once a patient has been anaesthetised (i.e. numbed up), they shouldn’t feel anything at all. We can carry out even the most complex surgical treatments with local anaesthetic. Modern day anaesthesia is extremely effective and safe.
For those patients where reassurance alone is not enough, then we can offer to carry out treatment under dental sedation. Sedation can be used for everything from invasive procedures to a simple scale and polish. At The Raglan Suite we use a drug called Midazolam, which has 3 effects. Apart from relaxing you and helping remove the anxiety, sedation also changes perception of time, so even an hour-long procedure will as if it has only taken a few minutes. This treatment also causes mild amnesia, so the vast majority of our patients have little recollection about their procedure.
But the sedation process is not just about the Midazolam, it has a lot to do with the technique of the clinician overseeing the sedation. We are lucky to have two very experienced sedationists at The Raglan Suite; Dr. Geoff Baggaley, who is our Anxiety Management Professional, and Dr. Wendy Cole. Both clinicians are fantastic at what they do and highly skilled at helping patients experience stress-free dental treatment.
The vast majority of patients dislike having impressions taken. Admittedly, a mouthful of putty-like impression material is enough to test even the most hardy gag-reflexes!
At The Raglan Suite, we have the latest state of the art intra-oral scanner, which uses a pen-like instrument to quickly scan around the teeth and gums to create a digital 3-D image. This image is then emailed direct to our on-site techicians who use a 3-D printer to print off a set of teeth. The scanner head is about the same size as an electric toothbrush and we have used it successfully on patients with even the most severe gag reflex.
Lack of control
A lot of patient fear is based around feelings of a lack of control. Personally I have a terrible fear of flying and I’m sure I would like flying more if I was the one at the controls (although the same may not be true of all the other passengers on the plane!)
At The Raglan Suite, the patient is in full control throughout their entire treatment journey. At the initial consultation, every available option is clearly explained so that the patient can make an informed choice about how they would like to proceed. Once treatment is underway, we always instruct our patients to let us know if they feel any discomfort. We never continue to carry out dental work without their permission.
In any situation where aesthetics are a concern, the patient will be shown the teeth before treatment is completed (usually at the penultimate appointment). If they want any changes made, we are happy to make them – our patient’s teeth are completely individual and bespoke to them.
Home from Home comforts
The Raglan Suite works hard to change a patient’s attitude to the dentist from the outset. Our clinic has been decorated in a very calming, boutique style, and there’s no anxiety-inducing, dental ‘smell’. The patient lounge is calm and comfortable, with a TV, freshly ground coffee and a wide selection of teas. Taking inspiration from long-haul flight entertainment, we also have TVs installed above the dental chairs in all our surgeries, so that patients can watch their favourite programme or film while treatment is being carried out. It works as an excellent distraction for longer appointments.
A friendly environment
But the most important part of our Practice ethos is that we ensure every patient feels respected, listened to and always receives a warm and friendly welcome. Every member of our team has been selected because they share these common values that patient care takes priority over everything else.
Our aim is that every patient experiences his or her treatment in a relaxed, friendly and discreet environment.
We fully understand that a visit to the dentist can be daunting, but through a combination of modern technology and techniques, our wealth of experience, a calm and comfortable environment and our friendly and welcoming team, we find that our patients complete their treatment feeling happy, confident and reflecting on a very positive experience. Some patients even use the word “enjoyable”!