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Dental Anxiety – a barrier we can lift together

Anxiety in the dental practice is still a big issue for many, you may think you’re alone if you are an anxious client but truth is, many clients have a level of dental anxiety and many avoid going to the dentist due to their fear. However, avoiding a visit to the dentist can lead to potential problems being unchecked and they can have an impact beyond your oral health. Gum problems, for example, have been linked with diabetes and other medical conditions. The knowledge that oral health issues can have a wider impact on your health is probably not enough to reduce your anxiety but hopefully the ways in which we try to help our anxious clients can.

We want our clients to feel calm and at ease when they visit us. Our client journey through the practice is as important to us as it is to you. We are happy to make changes to put your anxieties at ease.

At Christchurch, we offer complimentary video appointments prior to your visit, so that you can meet a member of the team and get a feel for the practice, pre Covid-19 we were offering the opportunity to visit the practice for a chat over a coffee but we have had to adapt this (hopefully for the short term). After a meeting and us answering your questions and talking through your anxieties you will already begin to feel calmer about your visit to us. You don’t need to hide your anxiety. Make the practice aware that you are nervous and talk through any specific concerns. Perhaps you have had negative dental experiences in the past. The more we know the better placed we are to make sure your visit is comfortable.
We play calming music in the practice, but we can offer you various types of music to make you feel at ease. Small accommodations can make appointments far less of a challenge, our clinicians are accommodating and are also able to suggest remedies that can help put you at ease

We can be flexible with appointment times, an appointment at the start of the day may reduce anxiety as it won’t be dominating your day. Alternatively, you may want an appointment at the end of your working day so that you don’t feel rushed getting back to work. Make the appointment time work for you. It may also be worth booking an appointment as soon as possible to get it out of the way, rather than having a date in the future.

If you suffer from dental anxiety, then just booking in for an appointment and turning up is an achievement. If you have not been to see a dentist for many years, you will not be met with the feeling that you are being judged. If we are aware that you are having a first appointment in some time our team will try to make the experience a positive one. We want to look after you and ease your fears so that you can get back on track with your dental care. We all know about the pressures of day to day life, be it a busy work schedule, relocating and a new dental practice being at the bottom of your to do list or a fear of visiting the dentist. We have seen and heard it all, nothing you say will be new to us.

Any client with with anxiety and who might not have seen a dentist in years might believe their first visit will result in them requiring major treatment there and then. This will not be the case. The first appointment will be for an oral health assessment, a chance to check your teeth, gums and jaw and to form records, it is only after this visit during a zoom call with the dentist and treatment coordinator that we will then discuss the best treatment options for you so that you can make an informed decision about how you wish to proceed. We will move at your pace and be led by you. You can see this first appointment as a chance to get to know your dentist, putting you at ease to make future visits feel far more manageable.

The hardest appointment for anyone who has not been to the dentist in a while is the first one. After that, settle into a pattern, maintain regular check-ups and then you will always know that your oral health is being looked after and appointments will become routine rather than panic inducing.

When choosing your dentist, look at reviews, ask friends and colleagues, be open when asking their advice, admit you are nervous and see what they say regarding the manner of their dentist.

Christchurch isn’t a scary place, it is a modern, calm facility with passionate, skilled and friendly professionals who want your journey here to be the very best it can be.

Seizing that opportunity

I’m sure that I speak for all of us when I say that as we entered the year 2020 we didn’t quite expect the challenges that have been come with this year and they don’t seem likely to let up soon.

There is no denying that the pandemic we find ourselves living though is an utter disaster and if you have lost a loved one or suffered ill health through sheer fear or delay in medical treatment for a completely unrelated health reason then you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Being a glass half fully type there have been some positives come out of this, the family time that we wouldn’t have had, the slower paced life we found ourselves living through, the digital shift that in most cases appears to work more efficiently are to name but a few.

I also think the period of lockdown has helped us all to prioritise what is important in life and to realise how fragile life is, that we may not be able to afford to wait for what we want in life.

We planned to get a new car in May but that was put on hold due to lockdown and by the sheer volume of new patient enquiries it would appear that many put cosmetic dentistry such as Implants, tooth whitening and teeth straightening on hold. It may be a case that people had money saved by for holidays which due to the pandemic they have decided not to go ahead with and instead they are investing that spare cash on themselves because we won’t be able to hide behind our masks forever – or at least I hope not as I presently sit here at my desk typing away in mine. At the end of the day I find myself getting into the outside air and ripping my mask off like I have just completed a long surgery in Grey’s Anatomy!

Life is too short; we have all missed out enough so seize the opportunity because none of us want to feel like we have missed out.

If you are an existing or a new client and you want to seize the opportunity, then get in touch so that we can help you to achieve the smile you have been dreaming of. Our reception team will be happy to take those first steps with you 01473 250977, [email protected] and rest assured we have put strict COVID measures in place to make your visit as safe as possible.

It’s ok not to be ok

It’s not very often that I hear a piece of news that stops me in my tracks but on Saturday I read on social media about the sudden death of Caroline Flack and it did just that, I even had to check from another source that this tragic news was correct, and sadly – it was.

Caroline was young, beautiful and talented, she had achieved so much, outsiders would say she had the perfect life until just late, she had a story but it’s a story we’ve all heard about via the press. Nobody knows her real story other than her nearest and dearest.

Caroline’s death has affected the whole nation because her life shouldn’t have ended this way, I am mourning for someone that I don’t even know on a personal level, someone that I know very little about in reality, yes, I’ve seen her on social media, I’ve seen her in the press, but these are just snippets of a person, yet I’m deeply saddened by her death.

Caroline’s life had taken an unexpected turn of events, there is no doubt about that. We don’t have the evidence and we cannot judge nor can we change what sadly happened to Caroline, but we can change our approach so that history doesn’t repeat itself.

You never know what people are hiding behind their smile and Caroline was hiding a whole world of pain. The emotions that come with that pain can be very much up and down, how she was feeling at her darkest hour may have been very low compared to how she may have woken up feeling the next day.

Through tough times it seems things will never improve but they will, they may even get worse before they get better but sometimes you have to ride the waves to reach the shore and some of the toughest problems will get fixed eventually. It is sad when people feel there is no other way out than suicide and it breaks those around you who must live with the aftermath and the unanswered questions. I’m sure many of Caroline’s friends will be questioning their actions, could they have done more, could they have prevented it by being there more? We all know life takes over, it doesn’t mean that we aren’t thinking of our friends and plan to give them a call, but would their call have changed anything? The sad truth is, sometimes people don’t want to be helped, you can offer support, you can listen but if they won’t accept your help then you cannot force them. I always try to tell my friends going through a rough time to focus on the positives, because there are always positives, Caroline was beautiful, she had friends who cared and her boyfriend loved her, but her darkness inside overshadowed all of that, to the point that she felt taking her life was the only option.

I find it very sad that the death of Caroline means the world has become a little wiser on the importance of being kind, but it shouldn’t take a life to make us realise this. I have always tried to be a kind person because I have been at the receiving end of unkindness and I wouldn’t want to make anyone feel how that felt for me.

I plea for anyone feeling pain, feeling their lowest, feeling alone, that they seek help, this can be off a group like Samaritans, a friend or a healthcare provider and this includes us.

A dental practice wouldn’t spring to mind as a place that you can talk about your feelings, but we care. We would urge our clients to open up because we may be the only people you feel you can turn to. At each appointment we will ask you how your doing, and do you know what? It’s ok to not be ok.  We regularly see clients going through tough times who spill their hearts to us, we show empathy, we listen, and we don’t make judgement, we have even cried with our clients (we really have).

Please don’t ever feel alone, there is always someone to turn to, the pain that you are in now will improve, you just need to ride those waves and if you accept help, you won’t sink.

What acts of kindness have taught me

During the lead up to Christmas, we carried out daily random acts of kindness to spread some festive cheer.

I learned a lot during this period and what better way to share it with you then in a follow-up blog.

I discovered that kindness is very much like a boomerang, when people benefitted from the random acts of kindness they often did something nice in return. We have received many messages of thanks both in person and via email, the one that stood out the most was the very grateful and polite thank you that I received from a homeless gentleman that I gave a care pack to.

There is a general perception of the homeless. People consider them as scary and dangerous. In many ways, our ideas about homelessness are shaped not by direct experience, but rather are influenced by media reports or the stories that our friends tell us. These indirect encounters have an impact upon our views. When you next pass a homeless person on the street I urge you to smile at them, respond to them when they ask you for some change, even if it’s an apology that you don’t have any to give. My husband passed a homeless lady before Christmas and he didn’t have any spare change but he had just bought some lunch and gave her his bag of crisps. Any gesture, even if just a smile or a kind reply is better than walking by like you are above them. After all everyone has a story!

I also learned not to expect anything in return. When you perform a random act of kindness, you get a sense of fulfillment when your act of kindness is acknowledged but expecting to be praised every time will set you up for disappointment, sometimes the reaction from the recipient falls short of what you expected and this can lead to disappointment if you keep expectations low then the acknowledgments you receive are an added bonus.

You also need to be prepared for rejection, we contacted many charities during the month of December wanting to make helpful donations to their causes but we had several rejections as they had already received so many donations from others that they had no room for more. It is reassuring to know that others are giving to Charity but it was deflating to hear that your help is not required.

I found that if you are working as a team to perform these acts of kindness then you need several fully invested people to keep the momentum going, people who know me, know that I don’t do failure so would have followed this through despite my personal workload and time restraints but the fully invested team members made a task that could easily have failed a huge success and I owe it’s success to them. We really do have the best team at Christchurch and I’m so proud to be a part of it.

I think we would all benefit from being a little kinder, being kind doesn’t have to be spending your last £4 on a coffee for the person behind you in the queue, it can be a simple smile’.

‘A smile costs nothing but gives much. It enriches those who receive without making poorer those who give’

Our Raving Fans

In dentistry, it is very easy to get caught up in fixing smiles and the running of the practice that we lose track of whether we are still providing you with that ‘Wow factor’ patient experience. This is when our 5 star google reviews come into their own, they stop the whole team in their tracks because we love to hear your positive comments about the service that we are providing and that our hard work is paying off.

We want our clients to have the best experience here at Christchurch and have invested a lot into making sure that you leave the practice happy and raving about us to your friends and family.
You are not just our clients; you are our raving fans and our shop window. We don’t do paid advertising and rely on the experience we give you bringing in word of mouth referrals so go and tell everyone about how great Christchurch is and what makes us stand out above the rest by writing us a google review. Many of our new clients who found us via google will say the chose us above other practices in the area because of our positive google reviews. One patient said recently that she googled ‘The best dentist in Suffolk’ and the search and reviews led her to us.

If you are an existing client who is a raving fan and haven’t done so already; then we would be very grateful if you could start spreading the Christchurch word.

So how can you spread the word?

• Tell your friends about your positive experience with us.
• Write a google review.
• Write a Facebook review.
• Like our Facebook page.
• Follow us on Instagram.
• Comment on our posts.
• Share our posts.

These positive reviews mean so much to us as a team and a business as they reflect that we are offering the 5-star patient experience that we strive to deliver here at Christchurch. The reviews boost our team morale and the reputation of our practice. There is nothing like positive feedback from a client.

If you haven’t yet visited us and want to receive our 5-star patient experience and join our raving fans, then contact our reception team on 01473 250977 or [email protected]. We can’t wait to meet you and show you what all the hype is about.

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