“I hate dentists.” It’s something any dentist probably hears weekly. I often get asked by friends if this bothers me or gets to me. And it honestly doesn’t, but it is definitely and attitude I strive to change. I love my profession and would like to help other people see it in a new light, or at the very least hate it a little less. Not only would this have fewer people telling me they hate me, but it would also create a population of people who are comfortable coming to me with their problems and concerns, instead of being a ball of anxiety when they’re having an issue.
Look, no one is super excited to come to the dentist to have work done. I get it. The dentist isn’t a very comfortable place to be. It’s loud, there’s tons of water, there’s anaesthesia and sometimes discomfort (see my post on Words We Never Say for why I didn’t say “needle” or “pain”). You’re on your back, mouth open with sharp tools around – it’s a vulnerable situation. I do my best to make it as smooth of an experience as it can be, and make sure whoever is in my chair is comfortable and realizes that they’re in control of the situation.
Despite my efforts to make appointments as smooth as possible, sometimes it’s the attitude of the patient that can make the biggest difference. If everyone in the room is in a good mood or having a good time, the appointment goes by faster and future appointments become less stressful.
I saw a patient recently for a crown on a lower second molar. These are often challenging crowns for everyone involved – the tooth is all the way in the back, the tongue is in the way, there can be difficulties getting the tooth numb. In this case, it was a longer appointment and we had issues keeping the tooth numb.
What made this particular crown stand out is that even with the difficulties we encountered, the patient was in a good mood, understood that things happen and was very patient with us while we got the work done. She had a great mindset of trying to make the best of the situation, closing our appointment with “I’m the best patient you’ve had today right?”.
I always joke that since I became aware that Uber drivers give you a rating I’ve become a much better passenger, trying to be comparatively better than anyone else they’ve driven that day. In my perfect world, everyone we see would have a similar view when they came to see me. That mindset of “I’m the best patient you’ve seen today right?”. And while that is definitely unrealistic, I’ll always be trying to put everyone who crosses my chair in a better mood than when they first came in.
To me, the best patients are the ones who are open to having their minds changed about dentistry and have a positive attitude about what we need to do to get everything back in working order.
If you’re looking for a dentist in Calgary, or want to see if I can change your opinion of dentists and what we do, we’re happy to see new patients. Give West Peaks Dental Suite a call at 403-281-4264.