I hear this line at least once a week. Really. “No offense, but I hate dentists.” How could I take offense at that?
My usual reply: “Perfect! I hate patients, too. Open wide.”
I know, I’m making light of the way a lot of people feel about the dentist office. Perhaps I shouldn’t, but I’ve found that approaching patients with a sense of humor is usually helpful.
So why would a patient “hate the dentist?” Some associate the dentist with pain. If you’ve ever had an abscessed tooth, who could blame you? Others may have had a bad experience in the dental office that has been hard to forget. Some people really don’t like the way that anesthetic makes them feel.
Finally, dental care is expensive. Anything that costs money that you would rather spend in some other way is expensive. Have you ever had someone trying to sell you a new roof or a dry basement try to explain to you how inexpensive their product is? Dentistry is kind of the same way. If you came into my office and said, “doc, I’ve got a bunch of money in my pocket that I don’t know what to do with so I thought I’d have a root canal” you’d be the first patient that ever said that to me.
Any of these concerns is 100% legitimate. So my job is to try to make you hate us less. I have a few suggestions that might make coming to the dentist a little easier:
- Don’t wait until something is broken or something hurts. By the time it breaks or hurts it’s going to cost more to fix (if it can be fixed) and has more potential to hurt. Regular visits for checkups when you’re not having troubles make it a lot easier to catch small problems before they become big problems.
- Dentistry has come a long way! The way it used to be and the way it is now is a LOT different. The needles are smaller, our numbing agents are better and our understanding of pain control is much improved! If you haven’t had work done for awhile I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. I can’t guarantee that there will be absolutely no discomfort but we’re able to keep pain down to an absolute minimum.
- Tell us! If you had a previous bad dental experience that information is really important. If you tell us what happened to you before, we’ll make sure we don’t do it again. For instance, I’ve had a patient tell me that her biggest problem with dentistry in the past was a feeling of claustrophobia because she was leaned back too far. This is an easy problem to fix but we don’t know if you don’t tell us!
- Mead’s rule. There is never a time when we’re working on you that we can’t stop. In my office, the patient is in charge. If you need me to stop, for any reason, I will. Just raise your hand or let me know in some way. Even if it’s just to rest your jaw or take a deep breath. There’s nothing so important during dental work that we can’t give you a break. Even if you aren’t in control of anything else in your life…you’re in control when you’re here!
The goal of this Saginaw dentist is to turn “haters” into “regulars.” We do it by treating you like we’d want to be treated. We’ll greet you with a smile. You can pick whatever TV channel you might want to watch. Maybe you’d prefer to surf on your laptop or iPad. We’ll explain what we’re going to do before we do it and we’ll tell you how much it’s going to cost before we start anything. You’re in charge and what you say goes. I don’t know if we can change “I hate dentists” into “I love visiting my dentist” but we’re going to try!
Questions or comments about this blog? Would you like to make an appointment? Call the office at (989) 799-9133 or email me at email@example.com. I always answer my own email!