Friday, October 17, 2008

The Fearful Patient

I just talked one of my employees, who admitted to being an extremely fearful patient, and told her she had to get to the dentist. Angel kept insisting that she needed someone gentle, that everything hurts, and expressed the usual fears. I explained that she should go to this specific dentist, Dr. LaBounty, because I know how gentle both he and his hygienist are. I also told her she should ask for nitrous oxide for any treatment she has.

She told me she had a root canal a while ago but never put the crown on--that there was just a hole there--but it didn't hurt. I said, "Angel, you're not going to grow a new tooth. You're not a shark. That's not what happens in humans." She laughed. I think she realized that her procrastinating was only going to make things worse.

I stood there while she called and made an appointment. Her heart was actually racing. It reminded me how afraid many people are, and how important it is for dentists to realize this and make the extra effort to put their patients at ease, use the best comfort-conscious technology, and do their best to educate their patients. It made me even more resolved to make sure that the dentists that we recommend to people at 1-800-DENTIST are compassionate, caring, and use the latest technology.

Angel has an appointment on Monday. I'll bet she goes, and it changes her whole experience of the dentist.

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