So here’s the scenario- you have an appointment at the dentist for a root canal which you are REALLY not looking forward to. You have heard all the stories about the pain, the shot, the horror- you’ve seen Marathon Man more times than you care to admit…..But still you faithfully show up for your appointment and once ushered into the operatory you try to make your fears known. But instead of listening, the dentist says “you’ll be fine” and the assistant gives you a perfunctory pat on the arm as the drill revs up- you feel the sweat on your head bead up and your heart begins to race……….
STOP! Let’s get out of that scary picture and take a deep breath. Now- imagine this– you show up for your appointment very apprehensive but as soon as you voice your story, the dentist stops…. puts everything down and spends 10 minutes discussing the procedure, the potential points that might spark nervousness and then asks if you have any other concerns. He then slowly and gently gives you some anesthesia as the assistant massages your shoulder to the point that you forget what you were nervous about in the first place.
The first scenario sadly plays out every day in dental offices across the country. The second scenario is the standard procedure in our office, all the way down to Edie, my assistant, removing all stress with her caring touch. Communication is so very important- the value of being heard in a potentially scary situation cannot be overvalued.
I just spent 3 days at a seminar this past weekend on this very subject. We reviewed listening skills, as well as ways to help dispel all those stories that patients collect about what they are going through that can ramp up the stress and the anxiety. As you have probably seen many times in the past, we have the ability to freak ourselves out because of what we have heard form friends or the media… or even from old movies! Being able to openly discuss these fears is what can transform a bad dental appointment into an enjoyable experience!
To me, it can be demonstrated by the colleague who stopped by our office last week and commented on how peaceful the office felt- which seemed as much a comment on his office as on ours. But I took this as an extreme compliment. We pride ourselves on creating the most peaceful, relaxed and enjoyable environment as possible. I hope you come see for yourself when it is time for your next dental visit!