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What does it take to feel safe with a dentist/clinic?

krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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I was just thinking at this point how I feel very safe and less anxious with the dentist I am now with and thinking why that is and wondering what makes you feel safe , more at peace and less anxious at a dental clinic, /dentist?

For me.

Starts with a good front desk/reception experience, someone who is friendly and doesn't make you feel like a bother, has a kind demeaner on phone,email and in person. I really appreciate talking to and seeing familiar faces when I go.

A caring and understanding assistant, and its really nice to have the same one to work with you feel comfortable with all the time. I know for me the assistant Aimee is awesome and I'm very comfortable knowing she is there and working with my dentist.

There Must be good chairside manner for me. I really appreciate that I know my dentist wants to understand me and my questions and thoughts, he listens and makes sure all my questions are addressed. He also really respects my stop sign, and wants to make SURE 100% I am in no pain.. He is really good at this.. and this definately makes me feel safer in the chair.

I also feel safe at a single dentist practice than a multidentist or group practice.. as I know I will always have the same dentist and no opportunity for a switcheroo . like they used to do at a previous clinic I went to. I know I will get the dentist I trust and like to work with!

I feel safer in my clinic now as I know my dentist isn't going anywhere, he is stable and has roots in the area with the practice so I can build a professional relationship for my son and I here and not worry he is going anywhere else too soon. I absolutely adore my previous dentist who kept switching ,very thankful for him! I do feel a bit safer now knowing I can settle in with someone I trust.

Well.. This is just top of my head.. what makes you feel safe?
 
Dr. Daniel

Dr. Daniel

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Thank you for this thread. From your thread it is obvious that the human factor is the most important thing in keeping a patient feel safe. It does not matter whether the waiting room has an aquarium, a Buddha or spa-like fountain, in the end it all about people.
 
Judythecat

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I’m not scared of the dentist, but I am really afraid of needles, and can get very anxious.

The most important thing for me is that my dentist sees me as a person, not just a patient needing a checkup or treatment. She always asks about work, my partner, my cat, and often makes a comment on how she likes my outfit as she picks me up from the waiting room. We have a running joke because I always wear red lipstick, and she tries not to have me end up like The Joker - this in itself is really important, because being asked to remove it by previous dentist felt like a bit of me being stripped away. She knows I need to have all the information available if I need to make a decision, and to be kept informed about progress/time during any treatment - I understand a lot of patients would really hate this though! She is completely sympathetic and patient about me being afraid of needles, and gets the nurse to hold my hand.

I have sent so many people to my dentist that she should be buying me a Christmas present.
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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Judy,

Your dentist sounds so lovely and someone who seems to have the knack for putting people at ease and really understanding someone before starting anything and during and it seems she just gets tries to make it as easy as possible.. Sounds like you are definately in a safe place.. :)
 
P

patient

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The front desk makes no difference to me because at the end of the day it is the dentist who does the work and makes you feel ok. I am not afraid of the dentist I currently see. I do not particularly like needles but I am not afraid of having them because I have the paste put on my gum beforehand and I do not feel the prick. However, a previous dentist I attended needed to give me an injection and I asked for the gum numbing paste and was told we do not do that here for adults only children so i had to put up with the nasty prick which did hurt. I really do not see why they could not do it for adults too
 
BoxerMom

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For me, a big part of being able to trust in the dentist was when the dentist called me the day before my appointment and asked if I had any questions or concerns before I came in. I was terrified, and having a chat with him helped so much. He was in no hurry and we talked for about half an hour. His manner is so calming and relaxed, and he listens to what I have to say. I never feel like I’m being rushed, or pressured to do something I may not want to. My hygienist and the dentist have both given me their cell numbers in case I need to get ahold of them after hours. I would feel terrible to bother them, and I haven’t. But knowing they are there for me is very reassuring. So yes, the human factor is what matters most. I’ve been to doctor offices that were all marble and crystal and pretentious and the doctor was very unpleasant. Not interested in what I had to say and only saw them for 5 minutes.
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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Boxermom,

This is all such good stuff. I'd feel a lot safer too with calls ahead of time and access to cell phones just in case. that is really nice! I had a few previous dentists give me their cells too in case of emergency, it really does give a sort of peace of mind. One many years ago I called him on a sunday when my temp came off and he met me at the clinic and popped it back on, which was really great. Another called in a antibiotic prescription when I called in dire pain over a weekend knowing it was an absess, the last I never had to call for an emergency :). but definately nice to have. I so agree .
 
Sol

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It's already been said but the human factor and open communication are the most important things.

Found it pretty off putting when I was searching for a new dentist recently to find some web pages that put emphasis on things like a "spa" environment (warm neck wraps, hand massage, etc.). Would much rather go to a spa, but that doesn't make me want a dentist's office pretend to be one. If there was no mention about building good relations with patients or anything else about coping with appointments on the website, they were crossed off the list. I can understand those might be little perks for people who are not nervous/phobic. However, coming at things from that angle shows a misunderstanding of how to help anxious people and that maybe anxious patients are not welcome.
 
kitkat

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The single most important thing that my dentist has ever done to make me feel safe is telling me that I am in control and respecting my stop signal. Even years later, I benefit from ongoing reassurance that I can stop when I want. In addition to that, explaining things to me beforehand and checking in frequently has also helped immensely. Initially, just recognizing that any unusual or unexpected sensation may be anxiety inducing (not just pain). My dentist would say things like “you’re going to feel some pressure now and that’s normal, don’t be frightened by that.”
 
T

Thephilsblogbar

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Also my dentist talks to me, tells me what she is doing.

Because my dentist has an up stairs surgery and the stairs are steep, there is no rush going up up them with the dental assistant behind you, my last appointment the dentist took me up., as the assistant (aka the nurse) was juggling two list.

also knowing where the fire exits are helps
 
N

nikki06

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I like familiar faces. I can't remember how many appointments I've had in the last 18mo, but every time there's been new receptionists.
I can appreciate they're young women and have their own lives etc, it just doesn't help me.. But that's obv my thing and familiarity puts me at ease a bit.
Whilst it's not them who work on me, it's my first impression and can either help put me at ease or set me off a bit. A smile goes a long way.

The dental nurses seem to switch around also, although this time I felt like I recognised one or two, but their makeup was so heavy I couldn't tell.

Having someone with patience helps. Someone who is kind, gentle, warns me if something may hurt, tells me what they're doing - I don't want a full and frank explanation, but someone who treats me like I matter helps. My last dentist always told me I was "doing really well".. Maybe she remembered I was a bit anxious, or could just see it, either way I just liked knowing someone thought I was doing ok(!), she always told me to put my hand up if I felt pain or needed a break too, always took time to go over my notes beforehand and remembered my issues with anesthetisic, never tugged me around - she did her job but was gentle at the same time, she also listened and took on board what my opinion was, or what I wanted, rather than making me feel forced into stuff.

Sadly I don't have that dentist anymore and can see myself starting from square one again.
 
T

Thephilsblogbar

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The dentist practice I go to, the dentist and dentist nurses don't tend to switch round.

My last appointment I saw, I saw a dentist nurse I only seen a few times, as the one who usually works with the dentist was juggling with two dentists that day.

I heard that one the dentist nurses has recently passed away, she was only 44.
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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Nikki06,

I hope you can find someone you really feel comfortable with.. I really appreciate familiarity too.. I am much more at ease with people I know and trust. I had an office a few years ago that did the "switcheroo" as I call it and even with dentists and it really put me over the edge scheduling for one dentist then them switching me at last minute.. I just couldn't continue there.. Where I go now its always the same dentist and nearly always same assistant.. such a relief to have that continuity!! I'm with you there!
 
kitkat

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Nikki06,

I hope you can find someone you really feel comfortable with.. I really appreciate familiarity too.. I am much more at ease with people I know and trust. I had an office a few years ago that did the "switcheroo" as I call it and even with dentists and it really put me over the edge scheduling for one dentist then them switching me at last minute.. I just couldn't continue there.. Where I go now its always the same dentist and nearly always same assistant.. such a relief to have that continuity!! I'm with you there!
I have become a bit spoiled going to a private practice owned by only one dentist for so long that I forgot this happens. Yes this would be an absolute deal breaker for me. The endodontist office that I was sent to had many doctors working there (I think there were like 7 different ones) and my dentist referred me to a specific one and he wasn’t available so they asked me to book with someone else. I ended up seeing one of the owners of the practice (2 of them were co-owners) and he was great but I remember feeling very stressed about having to blindly go with someone else that my dentist did not specifically recommend.
 
L

lena25

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In all my searching for a good private dentist to take care of my wisdom tooth situation I found one that offers sedation and promise not to turn me away because off my anxiety. The doctor didn't even see me and yet he offered to take a look at 3D scan and told his assessment. I want to go their, alas it's costly and my family members believe I'd have much better luck in dental hospital on the grounds of dental university. The rest of the private offices in my area which would be perfect if I wanted to take someone to go with me and should any complications arise refused me by saying I am anxious patient and they don't want to bother with me. This made me feel so very awful about myself and like I am some sort of bad human being for having this dental fear. I swear it's like if you are not 'normal' they won't even bother with you. They take only patients who are well behaved and the rest who have dental anxiety should suffer.
 
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