The Wand – encouraging patients back into the chair

As we look towards next year, Reena Wadia explains how she is using The Wand to encourage patients back into the practiceAs we look towards next year, Reena Wadia explains how she is using The Wand to encourage patients back into the practice.

This year will be seen as the year we were all plucked from our comfort zones and propelled into a world of chaos and rapid change – both personally and professionally.

Dentistry took its toll, of course. The lengthy infection control processes and fallow time expectations required to deliver care safely, coupled with the additional expectations of PPE – including initially, the hard-to-source face masks and FFP2 respirators – briefly wrong footed the profession.

And with all eyes on the dental supplies market and the need to crunch numbers with rates demands, a reduction in appointment numbers and furloughing staff, investment in new dental equipment is left wanting.

Today’s climate is not so much survival of the fittest as endurance by the most flexible. Opportunities may only be afforded to those prepared to reinvent the way they ‘do dentistry’. Those able to adapt positively in these troubled times.

Appointment cancellations

Back in August, dentists sounded alarm bells about patient numbers. The British Dental Association reveals the first lockdown alone saw more than 10 million cancelled dental appointments.

Whilst there have obviously been access issues, some dentists report they have experienced cancellations thanks to public concern over rising case numbers and stricter COVID-19 restrictions, triggering unfounded fears about the safety of a trip to the dentist.

And this, despite the profession’s infection control expertise.

So, how can dentists now encourage these newly cautious patients back into the chair?

Specialist periodontist Reena Wadia maintains that good communication and investment in equipment to offer patients ‘the best quality care in the most comfortable environment’ are what counts.

She explains: ‘In a COVID-19 world, we must take the opportunity at every appointment to engage with patients. Especially with those with complex periodontal needs who attend more frequently.

‘Some of these patients may perhaps now be nervous due to the pandemic. So we must reassure them it is a safe environment.’

The Wand – offering pain-free dentistry

Reena also believes that adapting to innovation will reopen doors to the reluctant few.

She says: ‘Now more than ever, we need to open our minds to new systems and technologies. This ensures patients have a positive experience with us. Offering pain-free dentistry is a key part of my holistic approach to the clinical care of each and every one of my patients. That is why I use The Wand for all those who require anaesthesia.’

The Wand is a computerised local anaesthetic delivery system delivered via a pen-like device precisely to the right spot. It is sleek, unobtrusive and easy to use.

Reena says: ‘There is evidence that the way it looks can have a positive impact on a person’s anxiety. It looks more like a pen rather than a big scary needle. A foot pedal controls the plunger and therefore the rate and pressure of delivery. This helps administer the anaesthetic in exactly the right place. It is hugely beneficial when working in more sensitive or hard-to-reach areas.’

‘Phenomenal’ outcomes

But its benefits go beyond simply removing fear and pain.

Reena adds: ‘It has other advantages, too. And whilst it suits the more phobic patient, it also ticks boxes for our busy patients. They avoid the usual paralysed feeling. It wears off quickly with no/minimal post-op pain nor a need for pain killers.

‘The Wand has proved to be a game changer for periodontal care – in particular for those patients who require treatment and long-term maintenance. It makes appointments more comfortable and patients more compliant. This helps us to help patients maintain a healthy periodontal status, which in turn ensures their quality of life, daily function and confidence.

‘The need to empathise, and find ways to harness new technologies in order to translate this into our clinical care, has never been so important. The impact on outcomes can be phenomenal.’

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