I've been using social media tools, such as Twitter, more, and am surprised at the number of "Tweets" from people who post that they are visiting the dentist.
Few people write that they enjoy visiting the dentist. Quite a number of people write that visiting the dentist is like being in hell and their dentist is Satan (or worse).
I know many people have fear and anxiety when visiting the dentist. Sharp pointy needles and tools look scary and can cause pain. People have had bad experiences with inept dentists -- I see these patients all the time and get angry that they received such poor dental care.
This fear and anxiety is one reason why I educate my patients about procedures before we begin. I also provide a soothing environment where they can relax, and I offer various sedation techniques -- ranging from topical gels to Valium -- in order to ease people's anxiety.
I've also learned how to do "little" things that help ease pain. For example, when giving multiple injections into a patient's mouth, I will use a needle for a maximum of three injections and then use a new one. Why? Dull needles can cause more pain. (I also buy high-quality needles.)
I've learned where to give injections in the areas of the gum that are less sensitive, and if a needle hits the jaw bone, I throw it away immediately. This is because hitting the bone can create a "burr" on the needle -- again, causing more pain.
But more important, like many modern dentists today, I continually take classes in order to learn how to best use advanced technologies and techniques. My mission is to give patients the ultimate in dental care, preserve teeth wherever possible, and give back to patients the ability to eat, smile, kiss, and laugh with freedom.
I'm passionate about educating my patients about the benefits for taking care of their oral health. For example, one patient came in recently and while checking her mouth I said, "Wow, your teeth and gums look beautiful. What have you been doing?" and she replied, "I followed your advice and started brushing and flossing every day."
Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day can go far in helping you to have a pleasant -- and stress-free -- visit. You'll have less plaque (and less scraping), your gums won't bleed, and you'll spend less time in the chair.
But more imporant, you'll leave the dentist's office feeling happy about your visit and your dentist -- someone who is your partner in maintaining good oral health, not Satan.
You can learn more about dental health by downloading my e-book, "Keep Your Body Healthy . . . Brush Your Teeth."
You can also email me your dental health questions -- send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, February 6, 2009
Posted by Helaine Smith, DMD at 6:25 AM