Patient comfort

So many dental patients are fearful; I want to play a part in alleviating patient’s fears and turn the negatives into positives.

At a recent hygienists’ meeting, a colleague said to me: ‘We want to make it a pleasant experience.’ This warmed my heart, as this is what brought me into dentistry – making patients feel comfortable.

For as long as I can remember, we have been providing patients with protective glasses but there was a time when it wasn’t common practice.

Back in 1990, I remember protecting my patient’s eyes with my hand when I was polishing. However it became difficult doing everything with only two hands so I suggested that patients protect their eyes with a spare pair of my spectacles. What a long way we have come.

I prefer the clear protective glasses, but there are practices that only have the dark ones. On the first occasion I used them, not being able to see the patient’s eyes struck me with a feeling of being disconnected from the patient.

Not that I spend all my time looking into a patient’s eyes but I am simply aware of them. I know when they screw their eyes, when they are relaxed and open or relaxed and closed. I know also when they‘re anxious and pretty much when they are in discomfort.

I may not worry so much when dark glasses shutter off the eyes from me, so in some cases it’s easier but I do want the session to be as pleasant as possible.

I’m sure this is what many of my fellow professionals want. I remember some years ago patients were surprised when I asked them to tell me if there was anything troubling them about the treatment; they weren’t used to being asked that.

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