Dentistry has always been an area of medicine which encompasses the diagnosis and treatment of disorders and diseases of the mouth. However, the delivery of the service has, until recently, perhaps been of lesser importance.
For those of us old enough to remember the 1970s, we probably all have similar memories of dread when it was time to go to the dentist, especially as kids. Apart from the ironic sugary candy treat at the end it was not a relaxing experience.
Luckily, patient experience is now a high priority with the aim being to make your time in the clinic as relaxing and comfortable as possible. A combination of staff training, technological advancements and high levels of expertise ensure that a first class patient centred service can be provided.
Dental clinics can tend to have a sterile feel and clinical smell with little attention to decor. While hygiene is of top priority, it does not preclude an inviting environment. A pleasant waiting area, interesting magazines, art work and music are just some of the things which are now becoming standard.
Personalised music, noise-cancelling headphones and overhead TV/DVD player are becoming more common too. A bit like flying but without the on board snacks.
Anxiety Around Dentistry
Many people feel anxiety about going to the dentist which is quite understandable. Modern dentistry allows for time to be taken with each patient so that treatment plans can be carefully explained with options and reassurance to help allay fears; before any procedures are carried out. Numbing gels can make injections more comfortable. Some dentist offer sedation. Hypnosis (by registered professionals) has also been shown to help.
Digital technology is now an integral part of modern dentistry. Appointments, check up scheduling, medical history, treatment updates. All are now stored by the practice which allow for efficiency and also saves on a lot of paper.
In the surgery, there is continuous advancement in equipment and what it can do. Fibre optic hand pieces, LED lights and intra-oral cameras can allow patients to see the inside of their own mouths. Dentist can show patients images of their x-rays and treatment plan, before and the projected after. And other tools are becoming progressively more refined for optimal precision.
Health, Safety & Access
There are numerous guidelines which must be adhered to in order to provide a dental treatment service. These guidelines govern both the opening and upkeep of the practice and ensure that it is a clean and safe environment, e.g. decontamination room, washer disinfector, sterilisation process, vacuum autoclaves to ensure sterilisation of inner components.
Disabled access, facilities for younger patients and comprehensive and regular staff training all help to ensure delivery of high quality care.
This is also a top priority. For all age groups. Early attendance, oral health education and diet analysis all contribute to achieving a healthy mouth..for life.
Feedback and suggestions are always welcome to help in our quest for continual improvement to the experience we offer our patients.