• Dental Phobia Support

    Welcome! This is an online support group for anyone who is very afraid of dentistry or who suffers with dental phobia. Please note that this is NOT a general dental forum! You can find a list of them here.

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Anyone Willing to Share...

Z

zamboni_rdr

Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2006
Messages
22
Hi,

I am new to dental assising and came across this support group while browsing the net. I am barely getting my feet wet and wondered if anyone out there would be willing to share their thoughts about what they expect from their assistant and what puts you at ease when you have to visit the dentist. I know what helps me but everyone is different.

Hope to hear your thoughts and advice-

Adia :cheers:
 
P

Pologirl82

Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2006
Messages
21
Hi there!
For me it is helpful when they are attentive and compassionate. I like when the assistant I see asks how I am doing and offers to hold my hand when I really freak out. It helps to have someone in the room that you trust and feel is almost like a friend especially if you come by yourself. It's also great if you have a fun personality. If you can get my mind off the dental tools by talking about something else I'm always put at ease. How are you doing so far? Have you gotten any feedback from patients? Good Luck!

Pologirl :)
 
N

Nat

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 16, 2005
Messages
765
Well, my dentists assistant is great, she held my hand during treatment, she cared and was very compassionate, I remember her shouting across to me in town after I had my first appointment to have some work done to see how I was coping with it all. She even remembered my name and she called me after every appointment to see how I was.
 
G

Geraint

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Mar 26, 2006
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446
Hi Adia, the dental nurses that work at the practice I go to are really nice.  They are always welcoming and sympathetic.  I find it more helpful to have eye contact with my dentist and nurse whilst I am lying in the chair, I like my dentist and nurse to sit where I can see them - I find this more reassuring.  Generally my dentist comes to fetch me from the waiting area, but if the nurse comes I like her to be welcoming and understanding - of my anxiety and call me by my first name.  I need lots of emotional support and reassurance when I have treatment - particularly if I need any drilling done, I like to listen to a cd walkman with a relaxation cd if when the dentist is drilling my teeth, I find this more reassuring.I need the nurse to sit by me and reassure me, hold my hand or place a hand on me.  If the dentist has to leave the surgery I need the nurse to sit with me and reassure me.  I need the nurse to be non judgemental and not criticise me or make me feel small for being nervous about dentistry.  I like the nurse to awknoledge me.
 
F

freakout

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Oct 26, 2005
Messages
1,712
Hi Adia & :welcome: First off I would like to commend you on taking the time to learn about dental phobias and ways to help your patients :jump:

My dentist office has several assistants and most are o.k., but I have one that I really like. She is very nice. She always come to my room to see how I am, even if she is not my assistant that day. If she is setting up instruments for a procedure, she talks to me (trying to keep my mind off what she is doing) and keeps everything out of sight, so I won't focus on the instruments while waiting for the dentist. When assisting on a procedure, she keeps eye contact and while she has a mask on I can tell she is always smiling. She even tries talk about funny or amusing things during the procedure to keep a relaxed atmosphere in the room. If she notices that I have the least bit of discomfort, she notifies the doctor immediately, sometimes with just a look.

Best of luck to you in your career. And from all dental phobics, thank you again for taking the time to learn how you can make our visits more comfortable.
 
Z

zamboni_rdr

Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2006
Messages
22
Thank you all. There seems to be a common thread in all of these messages...to at least touch you reassuringly with a pat or squeeze of the hand and to go the extra mile, making sure that you are comfortable. I heard from my instructor, I have a hard time with her sometimes even though she has been working as a CDA for thirty years, that you can't touch a patient because you can contaminate your gloves, etc. If this should be the case, I would hope a family member or friend would be present to do this. Personally I like to go in alone, afraid someone will think I am a fool...I do have good friends but I guess I feel silly on top of being panicked. I have to know exactly what is going on and I told my dentist this...he is very good at explaining what he is doing. Personally I keep my eyes shut as long as they can talk me through it!

Thanks again for your input and tell more if you think of anything else.

Cheers!
Adia
 
brit

brit

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Mar 23, 2006
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Hi Adia
I agree with Freakout that a very good characteristic in an Assistant is for them to point it out to the dentist if the patient appears to be in discomfort....its easier for the Assistant to observe this....many patients find it hard to object and stop proceedings unless it really really hurts but then go away and recount a bad experience to all their friends. Most Assistants I have come across have been absolutely fine but to me the most important consideration is my relationship with the actual dentist....although I realise in the US especially, patients tend to see more of the support staff.

I once felt extremely let down as a 10 year old child by a dental nurse who reassured me while the dentist was out of the room that 'we are not going to hurt you' . I had started crying as nerves had got to me as strangely I was kept waiting in the chair with just her in the room (not usual); and very poor chairside manner at my previous checkup had given me no reason to think this would be a good way to spend the afternoon. I believed her...calmed down... and then the dentist :devilish: saw fit not to give me any anaesthetic 'we'll try without' he said.....despite chair arm-gripping, silent tears rolling down my cheeks which he wipes away with a tissue and says 'that was a deep one' etc etc he still just carries on; and she assists like this is normal behaviour. I'm 10 years old...I'm not very assertive...all the adults I have ever come across my whole life have treated me way better than this but why was she such a jobsworth she didn't intervene? I soon afterwards found out that this was not the normal way children and adults were treated at this practice......I was very unlucky...he was soon gone and so was she....his successor and the one after that (who also did fillings) were in the :-* category....just so different....so I was left slightly dentally anxious rather than phobic.

As a younger child (different more old-fashioned practice) I have fond memories of a dental nurse who used to hold my hand and smile at me...she seemed really pretty and kind to me :p.

I also appreciated an older one who came and sat with me in the waiting room because I was a bit tearful (before nitrous oxide GA to have multiple extractions - used to be commonplace in UK - had it several times!).

You can do a great deal to make patients feel more comfortable...being happy, cheerful and yet sympathetic will always go down well I expect.
Good luck with it all.
 
brit

brit

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adia said:
 I heard from my instructor, I have a hard time with her sometimes even though she has been working as a CDA for thirty years, that you can't touch a patient because you can contaminate your gloves, etc.  

This could well be an issue and didn't apply in the 1960s and 1970s when they generally wore neither gloves nor masks; but I'm sure there are ways round it.....you wouldn't be wearing gloves when you collect someone from the waiting room so that's when you can do touch reassurance.....
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

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Jan 1, 2005
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Adia, you might hate to hear this, but you'll come across people like myself who have absolutely no desire to engage with a dental assistant - not out of malice or anything, but simply because I'd find it almost impossible to pay attention to more than one person at once when in a potentially stressful situation (and the most important person in this situation would have to be the dentist). I'd absolutely hate to be touched reassuringly - unlike most people perhaps! So if you come across someone who is anxious and ignores you, please don't take offense :)! If someone obviously ignores you, it may be a sign to sit back and not interfere.
I understand that it must be very difficult at times to do the right thing in a situation, because it very much depends on interpreting the person's body language etc. A bit like mind-reading really :confused:
 
L

leanna

Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2006
Messages
32
What I normally hate in real life, doesn't apply in the dental chair. I like my dental hygienist to stop and talk about all kinds of things....the kind of conversation that cause him/her to stop working to share a quick anecdote. Then it becomes more about the patient than the work being done.

I also like to not be condescended to. Don't assume people haven't taken care of their teeth, or haven't heard how to take care of their teeth before. Go through the motion of asking things like "Do you floss by wrapping the floss all the way around the root of the tooth?" Rather than saying "You need to floss by ...."

I also like them to touch my hand. I hate that in real life. I'm very independent, and normally don't like that, but do in that circumstance.

Lastly, I don't like being asked "do you want or need a break?" By the time they ask, they know, and I'm incapable of saying so. I wish they would just say "We're going to take a couple of minutes and come right back....."

But that's just me. :)
 
G

gdentalfear

Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2005
Messages
38
Like most others have said already: I also like it when my dentist and nurse talk to me before they start working on me and while they are working.

My current nurse is a very quiet person and during the first few appointments hardly said a word. This meade me feel very uneasy: was she a kind person or not? I have since got to know her better. So, talking to me (rather than just talking to each other) is important to me.

And I also appreciate being touched reassuringly by both my dentist and the nurse.

G.
 
kitkat

kitkat

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This is soo cool having communication between both sides of the situation! lol
Yeah but I agree with G, it is really important to me to for the nurse to actually talk to me, not just back and forth between the dentist and nurse like I'm not there...makes me feel less assertive if I'm not included in conversation before work is started and I feel more outta control.

I have only had one occasion in a dental appt ever where I was touched reassuringly and that was by a hygenist, but I was very appreciative of her for doing that and wish more would :confused:... Truth be told I didn't even like that lady cause she wasn't very good at handling the instruments and made it very awkward and was really rough with cleanings but that really turned around my attitude towards her. It's amazing what a little touch on the shoulder and a smile can do! The dental nurse I have now tho is really nice and is always really concerned about my comfort level and that makes me feel safer somehow :D!
 
F

freakout

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Oct 26, 2005
Messages
1,712
Hi adia :) In my dentist office the dentist and or the assistant will rub my arm or shoulder to reassure me before they put thier gloves on. Reassure the patient when you take them to the room. Let the dentist know if you notice a patient is extremely nervous. Many times we are unable to convey that to the dentist ourself.
 
Z

zamboni_rdr

Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2006
Messages
22
I am so pleased to hear everyone's response. They are all different and to the one member who said that they felt kind of violated when they were touched made me think too...not all people find touch reassuring. I am one of those people that think, well, he/she just patted me on the shoulder or is now holding my hand...that must mean it is really going to hurt next!

I guess it is important to feel each situation out, each patient and not generalize that every patient's needs are going to be the same. I also agree that the dentist is the one that will be paid most attention to. (otherwise I would have carried out the extra classes to become a dentist) their job is stressful and assistants are truthfully there to reduce the doctor's stress levels also.

Brit, I also had an experience when I was 10, I had five primary teeth extracted and refused nitrous because I hated the "trippy" feeling. My dentist agreed, which upset my parents later. They believe they should have been told and that maybe they could have intervened. I was as still as a stone with tears runnng down my cheeks, no one stopped even though I was obviously in pain. There is a little trick the assistant s used to use, it used to seem as if they were holding your hands to comfort you but what they are really doing is making sure you don't grab the doctor's arm away at a critical moment. It's restraint under disguise.

In any case I got out of the chair and promptly fainted. My dentsit was angry with me fo not taking gas but my mother and father were angry at him. I have not had an experience like that since but I am always afraid it will be that bad...again that was twenty-five years ago, and this is the dawn of IV sedation.

Thanks again for everyone's input. Keep it coming, my externship will be coming up December 18th...then I have to fac my own fears and get a new filling, :scared:

Cheers!
Adia
 
brit

brit

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adia said:
Brit, I also had an experience when I was 10, I had five primary teeth extracted and refused nitrous because I hated the "trippy" feeling.  My dentist agreed, which upset my parents later.  They believe they should have been told and that maybe they could have intervened.  I was as still as a stone with tears runnng down my cheeks, no one stopped even though I was obviously in pain.  There is a little trick the assistant s used to use, it used to seem as if they were holding your hands to comfort you but what they are really doing is making sure you don't grab the doctor's arm away at a critical moment.  It's restraint under disguise.

In any case I got out of the chair and promptly fainted.  My dentsit was angry with me fo not taking gas but my mother and father were angry at him.  I have not had an experience like that since but I am always afraid it will be that bad...again that was twenty-five years ago, and this is the dawn of IV sedation.

Hi Adria
I'm still puzzled about what happened to you here....are you saying the nitrous was your only anaesthetic and he pulled them anyway? Or that you'd had LA too, but actually weren't numb enough if at all?
The stupid thing about my story is that I never told my parents what really happened to me....I just said I didn't like him and my Mum said she didn't much either (at least she got LA!) and I could go whereever I wanted (ask friends at school) once the course of treatment had been finished....this meant one more very similar appointment!!! At the end of it on both occasions he gave me a packet of Dentyne chewing gum.... :p Strange eh! Did two packs of chewing gum buy my silence?

By the way I've checked...he's no longer on the GDC register!
 
Z

zamboni_rdr

Member
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Nov 4, 2006
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I'm glad to see yours has no license to practice anymore...

No I had LA too but nothing seemed to help the only time the LA really hurt is when he went clear into the back of my mouth snd numbed the whole quadrant. I could see his hand shaking as he did. Now, some practitioners will say, the dentist shakes his hand in the back of the mouth as a distraction but this was no distraction. I think I was so tense that he was having a problem getting the long, 27 guage in through the muscle and finding the foramen. I felt the extractions and knew I wasn't numb enough before he started but I didn't say anything, I didn't want to go through anymore injections.

If I hadn't have passed out my parents would have bought his story. I guess I was so sorry looking I could see panic in my mother's eyes but apparently he did a lot of dammage control. He was back at it when I had my third molars out when I was 14.

I'm glad to hear that your experiences at the dentist have gone better as time has gone by. You have heard by now that I need a filling between my first and second molars, maxillary. I am not looking forward to it but I hear injections are not as bad as they used to be.

Adia
 
brit

brit

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I'm glad to see yours has no license to practice anymore...
He was South African (but working in the UK at the time) he may still be practising there!


I'm glad to hear that your experiences at the dentist have gone better as time has gone by. You have heard by now that I need a filling between my first and second molars, maxillary. I am not looking forward to it but I hear injections are not as bad as they used to be.

Way way better for 34 years...until I moved to current location :p - its okay here now too - so I'm sure you will be fine...I have never felt an injection but anyway I am still firmly of the belief that a bit of pain from an injection if they do have poor technique is better than pain during a procedure.

Whatever they try to say otherwise....a little lesson for you here....when you have any...... never leave your children unattended with dentists....but you do have to take a backseat and let them deal with the child!!! Having said that I continued to see all mine alone...simply because it was so near my house...not because my parents weren't allowed in (they were)....it was never a problem afterwards.....so I was just unlucky but I always stay with my kids who have a great dentist now anyway.
 
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M

marc691

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Nov 29, 2006
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85
Nat's dental assistant sounds heavenly.. But in my case I'd like her out of the room. Think the dentist is enough to handle without worrying what the other one is doing or thinking :redface:
 
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