A Nervous Patients Experience

8th November 2019 by

We caught up with Caroline, who kindly wrote about her experience here at Bow Lane dental from a nervous patients perspective. Find out about her experience below…

My dental history

I am 25 years old and have visited the dentist a handful of times in my life. I have always been scared of the dentist although I can’t pin it down to a specific moment or reason. My last visit [not at Bow Lane] was about three years ago; I had my teeth cleaned (this is the only treatment I had ever had) and I was told I needed a filling… I pretty much ran away. For three years it has been on my mind; I knew the longer I left it the worse it was getting which terrified me.

Searching for a Dentist

After I moved to London I decided to get it sorted. I carried out extensive research to find the best dental practice I could. I wanted to be seen by someone who was experienced, qualified and above all, someone I could trust due to being so nervous.
The Bow Lane website allowed me to watch videos and read extensively about each dentist; their qualifications, their experience, where they studied and what they specialise in.

Once I had chosen which dentist I wanted to see, I used the online booking system which let me select Stewart – this was great as it meant I knew what to expect on the day and wasn’t assigned a random dentist who I knew nothing about.

First impressions

The reception area is more comparable to a high end hotel lobby than a stereotypical dentists waiting room. The atmosphere is incredibly relaxed and calming. I was able to make myself a hot drink and use the WiFi to check my emails. Having some time to settle before the appointment really calmed my nerves and I definitely advise arriving at least 10 minutes early if you’re feeling particularly anxious.

There is also a luxury loo where you can brush your teeth before your checkup — toothbrushes and toothpaste are both provided but I recommend taking your own toothbrush if you prefer firm bristles.

Meeting the Dentist

Stewart met me in the waiting room and showed me to the treatment room which was impeccably clean. It was so light and open. He introduced me to Rachel the dental nurse who assisted during the appointment. She was also very kind and reassuring!

The time came when I was asked to sit in the dental chair. By this point I was shaking and my heart was pounding. So, I confirmed with Stewart that no dental work would be carried out — just a check up. I was feeling reassured enough to go ahead.

We talked about why I was nervous and what I was scared of. We also spoke through my dental history and general medical history.

Beginning the check-up

Stewart began the inspection of my teeth. A range of tools were used, for example a small mirror. These were used whilst he read out information about each tooth as Rachel entered it into the computer. He used compressed air (it was the size of a pen and blew cold air out). This was to dry some of my teeth so he could examine them easier. He also used a tool with a small metal hook on the end. At first, it looked intimidating but it barely touched my teeth and I could hardly feel a thing.

Stewart spoke through everything he did before he did it so I was able to ask questions. He was incredibly reassuring throughout, asking if I needed to take breaks etc.

Stewart then gave me a red mouth guard to bite down on whilst he took two X-rays. The X-ray itself was fine but I didn’t like having to bite on the guard as it was quite large. However, it only took a few seconds.

The health of my teeth

He then took a number of photographs of my teeth while I used a different guard to move my lips. This enabled a better view of my teeth for the photos.
After the inspection, Stewart spoke with me at great length about the health of my teeth. He used the photographs on screen and the X-rays to show me which teeth needed treatment. This was really important for me to be able to view what he was talking about so I could understand what needed to happen and why.

What treatment did I need?

Stewart said I needed a filling and also recommended that I book an appointment. He also suggested that I book an appointment with the hygienist to have my teeth cleaned. He also advised me on methods to keep my teeth clean, and changes I could make to my diet to avoid further cavities. I also asked about getting brace. He was able to explain in great detail the pros and cons of different types of braces.

The whole appointment lasted 45 minutes. This meant it didn’t feel stressful or rushed and I was able to ask all the questions I wanted. Having enough time is such an important factor if you’re nervous, as you feel like your concerns are being understood and listened to.

I also wasn’t rushed into deciding immediately whether to have the filling there and then. I could book an appointment for another time and prepare myself. However, I was pleased that if I did go ahead with it then I had found a dentist that I trusted to take time to explain what was happening.

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