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In my last post I spoke about the fact that most people are somewhat nervous or anxious about a visit to the dentist. I have been giving this topic more thought since then, and I feel it would be worth mentioning a bit more about this.

"Fear of the Unknown"

In most cases the fear is of unknown issues ... Will this hurt? ... How long will this take? ... What if I can't stand it? ... How will I get out if I can't take it? ... What will it feel like after the appointment? Will it hurt then? How much will it cost? Will I have to come back? etc. What I have found is that when things are explained in a calm way, my patients tend to relax. hmmm .... that sounds pretty simple doesn't it?

The other day I had a new patient in my office for an initial examination. I schedule at least one hour for that type of appointment, maybe even an hour and a half. At about the 45 minute mark, I could sense that the patient was getting fidgety and somewhat anxious. I asked if she was in a hurry, if she had to be out at a certain time. She said no, but she was concerned that the time we spent talking would increase my fee and she would have to pay more for the appointment. I explained that there was no extra charge on that appointment for my time, but that it was important to me to get to know my patients and start the process of building a relationship of trust and rapport. In this way, I feel that I can be more effective in treating her, and in helping my patients decide on the best course of treatment for them. She relaxed and we had a great meeting. I hope that she and all my patients will feel relaxed, comfortable, and open to discussing the various options that exist for their treatment.

In the treatment room, I have found that when I explain to my patients what I am doing as I perform work in their mouths, and tell them what to expect in terms of sound, vibration, possible discomfort, they are much more relaxed and tolerate the procedure much better. I think as a whole, dentists have done a pretty good job of creating an environment in their offices to help people feel at ease.

In all health care settings, and in particular in the dental office, relationship building, trust, and rapport are of the utmost importance. I believe that we are not just like machines with parts that occasionally wear out and need repair or replacement to stay healthy. We are much more than just a body ... yes we have body, but we also have a mind, feelings, spirits. To achieve complete healing and health the whole person must be treated. This to me is what "holistic" health care is all about.

Until next time I wish you excellent health and excellent relationships with your health care providers.

Dr. Marty Frankel - Smiles by Design
3030 -3080 Yonge Street,
Toronto, Ontario M4N 3N1