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The Glimmer Of Hope In Frightened Eyes...

Today has been both a humbling and an uplifting experience for me personally, and also for the entire Friday Crew at York Place.

Humbling because real people have shared real dental stories that should never have happened.

Uplifting because I've seen the glimmer of hope in frightened eyes.

You might have seen that we've had a day dedicated to building bridges and connecting with people who don't come to the dentist. We deliberately set out to help those people out there who simply don't fit "mainstream" dentistry - for their own very real and often very sad reasons.

The order of the day:



  • No payment required.
  • No commitment to join us - walk away if we're not for you.
  • No clinical clothing, no dental smells or noises.
  • No treatment going on anywhere in the building.
  • Just a comfy chair and a chat if that's what you needed....

Everybody who came had a reason why they don't normally come to the dentist.

Here's a selection:

"When I was eight I had a gas mask pressed on my face as I was held down and I can't get it out of my head...."

"When I was thirteen, the dentist shouted at me and told me off when I cried because he didn't believe in using a local anaesthetic"

"I have a real aversion to needles (for a very good reason - Richard) and nobody seemed to understand that or want to know"

Sadly, all of the above happened here in the UK during my time as a practicing dentist, in the 1990's and the noughties. Not the 1960's.

These patients have been in my opinion at best ignored, at worst assaulted. Some of it can be laid at the door of the institution in which they were being treated, most at the feet of the professionals involved - who should have known better. I'd like to say that things have improved, and I can definitely say "never on my watch". But it's too late for these people.

I'm delighted to say that all of the people that came today have asked to come back. We will work with each of them as an individual to help them along their path, both to dental health and, hopefully, to break down their deep seated fears.

How?

In truth - we'll see; there is no fixed answer.

For what it's worth, this is how I'd start to approach your problem if you were in the same boat:


group 1

  • We'd listen to you (that's everyone that you meet at YPD).
  • We'd take time to understand your problems. There would be no pressure.
  • Then I'd repeat your story back to you - and if need be ask you again - making doubly sure that we understand each other.
  • Our wonderful team (see below) are 90% of this practice - they add the care, welcome and hospitality that a frightened person needs. They make the difference.
  • We only use layman's terms and we aim to communicate clearly and honestly.
  • I'd make it clear that you have the right to accept or decline treatment, and that you have choices.
  • I'd make it clear that compromise treatments have a place.
  • We have a network of colleagues who can provide complementary therapies - I am a firm believer in holistic and complementary care. In English: NLP, hypnotherapy, meditation, reiki and so on.... and it can work, if that's the best way for you.
  • The ability for you to talk to other patients who have been treated by us in the past who are willing to share their experiences.
  • We use The Wand - painless local anaesthesia.
  • And finally, we can arrange sedation or referral for general anaesthesia if all else fails.

So, a success has grown out of an idea, and we'll certainly do it again if we can connect with enough people who want it. If you know anybody who might appreciate what we're trying to do, please pass on our details and ask them to get in touch. We're thinking about a Friday in January..

I have to say that days like today make me very proud to work with the team that I work with, and equally proud that I do the thing that I do.

Wishing you a great weekend.

Richard - and the Team @ YPD :-)



 
 
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Comments 3

Guest - Kath Johnson on Friday, 15 November 2013 19:35

Well done Richard and everyone. I've never been that afraid but I was in despair once - seems a long time ago now. Someone then recommended a practice with a gentle lady dentist: but I got assigned to you! I have never looked back and submit to treatment willingly, knowing that my teeth are in the best care.

Well done Richard and everyone. I've never been that afraid but I was in despair once - seems a long time ago now. Someone then recommended a practice with a gentle lady dentist: but I got assigned to you! I have never looked back and submit to treatment willingly, knowing that my teeth are in the best care.
Guest - admin on Tuesday, 26 November 2013 22:57

Thanks Kath

Thanks Kath :)
Guest - Neil Cooper on Saturday, 16 November 2013 00:06

Brilliant guys, well done!!

Brilliant guys, well done!!
Guest
Sunday, 15 September 2019

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