It is important you feel comfortable with your dentist and confident in their communication style and expertise to treat you. At Smilefocus we see patients of all ages and have many experienced and likeable dentists to choose from. Our aim is to ensure your experience is a positive one.
Some factors to consider in choosing a dentist include (in no particular order):
Objectivity and communication skills: Your dentist should be a willing listener, who can suggest appropriate treatment options and who explains the benefits and risks of such treatments. Your dentist should be willing to answer your questions about the procedure and provide you with a written treatment plan.
Clinical skills and Experience: You should feel comfortable that your dentist has the clinical skills and experience to treat you, or that an appropriate referral will be made to a colleague with the expertise if necessary. You should be able to trust your dentist to suggest appropriate treatment alternatives where they exist, and you should also feel you can trust your dentist’s treatment recommendations. Often the experience of friends or family members is helpful in finding a dentist.
Training and qualifications: Training and qualifications: All general dental practitioners registered in Singapore are qualified. A person considering more specialised treatment may consult a specialist (or more than one specialist) to determine if they are suitable for the particular procedure. At smilefocus many of our dentists are overseas trained and qualified. They are from Australia, New Zealand, USA, and the UK. Knowing that a dentist is qualified and has worked overseas may increase the comfort level of a patient. It’s okay to ask.
Confidence level: Since twice yearly visits to the dentist are usually recommended to maintain dental health, it is important to feel comfortable with the practice you choose and to have confidence and trust in the dentist. How those dentists are supported by their patient care team also matters. The care and attention you receive should start the moment you make contact with the clinic.
Nervous patients: Dental anxiety is a common problem that can plague even the most rational and intelligent person. Even a low level of anxiety can induce a person to put off a visit to the dentist for preventive care indefinitely, so choosing a dentist is especially challenging for a nervious patient.
There are varying degrees of dental anxiety. Some may force themselves to visit the dentist crying, sweating and trembling all the while, and others may completely refuse to see a dentist, opting to live with gum infections, pain or even broken and unsightly teeth This usually continues until the pain is more unbearable than the fear and there is no choice but to see the dentist because the problem can no longer be ignored. This usually means a problem which could have been diagnosed and treated easily, requires much more complex treatment.
The most efffective way to overcome your fear is to find a dentist who communicates well, is patient, genuinely caring and makes you feel comfortable. Confess your fear to your dentist - there are a number of relaxation techniques your dentist can discuss with you including nitreous oxide (laughing gas) and relaxing music through head phones. Less intimidating modern techniques and technology ensures most treatments today are virtually pain-free, including injections.
There are other simple things you can do to minimise dental visit stress:
• When scheduling your appointment let the clinic know you are nervous. They will allow a longer time for your appointment.
• Arrange your appointment for a time when you are not likely to be stressed i.e. don’t make the appointment before an important business meeting
• Bring a friend to support you, and try to arrive early so you are not under pressure for time.
Dr Dianne Sainsbury BDS (Otago)
Dr Dianne Sainsbury graduated from Otago University in 1997 and has worked in NZ, Australia and the UK, and has also had the opportunity to do voluntary work in Cambodia and Vietnam. Dianne is a person who is passionate about preventive dentistry. She also really enjoys family work, crown and bridge, implants and teeth whitening, and building ongoing relationships with parents and their children.