Making the Dentist a Little Less Scary

By: Dr. David Markiewicz

Depictions of dentists in popular culture have often been negative. Let’s face it, sometimes deservedly so. Access to care, poor oral hygiene, lack of treatment options, inadequate pain control all were lacking. The dentists who came before us recognized these shortcomings. They innovated, they changed, they improved the quality of care our profession can offer our patients. We at Markiewicz Dental are looking to build on the progress dentistry has made. We are striving to make dental appointments in our office safe and comfortable for patients. Our entire team is working towards make visiting the dentist a little less scary.

So, let’s look at some things that have traditionally been frightening about the dentist and I’ll explain what we’re doing at Markiewicz Dental to make it a little less scary.

INJECTIONS aka SHOTS

Most patients who arrive don’t fear the dental work; instead, they fear the shot that comes before the work begins. These shots deliver anesthetic, which numbs the teeth prior to the procedure. By eliminating sensation in the tooth, anesthetic actually makes your dental experience much more comfortable!

Still, we at Markiewicz Dental want to make every single aspect of your dental experience more comfortable – including the injection part. In an effort to ease anxieties around injections, we’ve invested in new technology. We now use an electronic injection device, called the Dentapen, to administer anesthetic.

This pen-shaped device administers anesthetic in a slow and comfortable pace. It’s truly been revolutionary in our practice. We frequently have patients tell us they “didn’t feel a thing,” after their anesthetic administration. Just last week, I had a seven year old patient laughing during her injection because it “tickled.”

We know injections aren’t always this comfortable and shots will continue to cause anxiety, but we strive to make them as pain-free as we can. We are always researching the latest technology in an effort to improve comfortability in our office.

THE NOISES AND THE DRILL

We understand that just the sound of a dental drill can make patients cringe. Although we can’t make the sound completely disappear, we are certainly trying!

A few years ago, our office invested in electric dental handpieces (aka drills). These electric handpieces are scientifically proven to be quieter and produce less vibrations when compared to older air-driven rotary drills.

Although they are quieter, these electric handpieces still make high pitched noises that can be unsettling to some patients. For those who struggle with the noises of a dental operatory, we offer some distractions.

Each of our dental rooms are equipped with an iPad and noise cancelling headphones. Patients are encouraged to throw on the headphones, turn up the volume, and zone out! During their dental procedure, they can choose to watch Netflix, listen to music on Spotify, or get lost in a good Podcast.

THE VULNERABILITY

Although my father, Dr. Markiewicz, started this practice in 1988, he isn’t the boss. I’m certainly not the boss. YOU, THE PATIENT, ARE THE BOSS!

Before any appointment, I like to remind my patients, “You are always the boss. We listen to you. If you need us to stop for any reason – whether its because of sensitivity, or you need to go to the bathroom, or you just want a break – all you have to do is raise up your hand I will stop right away.”

Laying down in a dental chair with your mouth propped open and filled with strange materials can cause a natural feeling of vulnerability. We want our patients to know that they are always in charge and always in control.

Whether it be through investing in new technology or taking the time to answer your questions, we are always looking for ways to make patients comfortable in our office. If there is ever anything we can do to make your dental visits more comfortable, we are always open to feedback and ideas! Thank you for continuing to trust us with your dental care!

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