IThis is why we make a visit to our practice as enjoyable as possible. The comfort of our patients is one of the most important parts of the Serenity Dental service.
We’ve developed this attitude as a means of helping people who get nervous about a visit to the dentist, or those who have grown up with a phobia of dentists and dental surgeries following poor experiences as children.
When I was a NHS dental nurse it was obvious the main problem the NHS has is a lack of time. We weren’t able to give patients as much time as they needed to feel relaxed about treatment.
Whereas at Serenity Dental, a lot of effort has been taken to ensure the staff get to know the patients, that there is a continuity of service and the patient is in charge of the whole process – even down to which piece of music they listen to during the procedure.
In this blog, I hope to convey how we begin treating you before you’ve even sat in the chair.
A Pleasant Visit from Start to Finish
As soon as a patient walks in, they’re greeted with a warm, friendly smile from the receptionist – likely the same receptionist they spoke to on the phone when booking the appointment and the person with whom they’ve already built a rapport.
We ask patients to take a seat in our waiting room, which is always calm and quiet, with tea and coffee available. There’s also a selection of up to date newspapers and magazines.
We try to keep on time for all appointments so that the patient isn’t left in the waiting room to ruminate on the upcoming procedure and wonder when they’ll eventually be called in. The dental nurse for the procedure will greet the patient, shake their hand, and lead them into the surgery.
All the Comforts of Home
As mentioned earlier, the dentist’s chair can be seen a source of anxiety for nervous patients, but we give them all the time they need to feel comfortable about sitting in it. The chairs at Serenity Dental feature headrests with Tempur memory foam, so they’re super-comfortable to rest your head on.
Once in the chair, we ask the patient what music they’d like to listen to. Using the state-of-the-art Sonos music system installed in the surgery, they can choose from a wide range of genres and radio stations. Our patients are always surprised and impressed by this, and it’s a big indicator that the appointment is running on their terms, rather than ours. We don’t mind what they play, just as long as it helps them feel more chilled – we’ve had everything from church bells to heavy metal!
Speaking of chilled, there’s also air-conditioning in the surgery – so if they feel too hot or too cold, we can adjust the temperature accordingly.
Before the treatment begins, we ensure the patient knows exactly what procedures we’ll be carrying out. We use an inter-oral camera and x-rays to help explain what we’ll be doing next, and we go through what tools we’ll be using and the sounds, sights and sensations the patient will experience.
Some patients don’t want to know, and that’s fine too – but for most patients, being able to form realistic expectations of the treatment helps to quell some of their anxiety.
We also take the time to chat with patients and give them an opportunity to talk about any anxiety they might have. Listening to their needs, concerns and fears helps us to deliver a more relaxing, stress-free experience for them.
Putting the Patient in Control
Once the patient is happy for us to proceed, we’ll go ahead and start the treatment – but not before giving them a handheld buzzer, which they can press at any time to stop the treatment. As soon as we hear the buzzer, we immediately stop all work until the patient is happy to continue.
Being given the buzzer makes them feel in control of the situation, and it’s empowering for them. By the time the treatment is over, many of our patients are amazed that they didn’t press the buzzer at all!
A topical anaesthetic gel is also applied before we administer any local anaesthetic, with plenty of time in between to make sure the gel has had the desired effect. This ensures the whole experience is as painless as possible.
Once the procedure is all over, we try to ensure that the patient will see the same dentist and dental nurse for all future appointments. This not only means that the staff have a greater understanding of the dental health of their patients (rather than just reading through the notes of other dentists), it means the trust the patient has put in them is not squandered by introducing them to entirely new staff members.
It also means we can deliver a more personal service – for example, if one of my patients tells me during the current appointment that they’re going on holiday next week, I can ask them how it went during their next visit. Again, this helps the patient to feel more relaxed in our company, and so their dental experience is a positive one.
But you don’t need to have an appointment to have a look around. We’re always seeking to improve the service and one new feature we’ll be adding is pre-treatment appointments.
So if a patient is really sensitive towards treatment they can arrange to meet a dental assistant – just so they can actually see the surroundings, sit in the dental chair, spend a little time talking with the person who will be looking after them and bit by bit reduce any concerns.
If you would like to book an appointment for treatment, or to meet a dental assistant just give us a call on 01329 230 111