I have had the pleasure of being involved in life-changing dental treatments for many patients. However, there is one particular treatment that had a life changing effect on me. It happened back when I was providing dental care in Bolton before I moved to Leeds.
I was providing a routine dental examination on a patient who regularly attended every 6 months. Her teeth were healthy and she never complained of having any dental problems. I noticed that although she was a very pleasant lady, she appeared to be reluctant to smile. At the time I didn’t think much of it so I just made a passing comment and asked her how she felt about her teeth. She said that her old crowns and fillings all look uneven and stained and therefore she no longer has the confidence to smile. She stated that she has learned to live with it as ‘there is obviously nothing that can be done’ to improve this.
I was extremely shocked to find that my patient, who was in her 60’s, had probably just lived most of her life accepting her dental problems because she felt nothing could be done. I explained to her that with a plan we could achieve a smile she could be proud of. After discussing the plan with her, she decided to have the treatment and the result was incredible. Not only did the smile look more aesthetic but the patient became more confident in her own smile. She seemed more relaxed and happy as she didn’t have the inhibitions that had restrained her from freely smiling and laughing in the past.
A few weeks later, I saw another patient for an examination. As the patient was about to leave she turned around back towards me and said “I have something to tell you, you have recently treated my mother and I want to thank you for what you have done for her. She is more confident now and is able to smile in family photos. In fact, I have never seen a photo of my mum smiling until now”.
It was at that point I realised how much of an effect our treatments can have for our patients. In this case, just being able to listen to my patient’s problems and find a solution made all the difference. I can’t imagine how many times she may have come to the dentist and left with a feeling of ‘what if?’. This time, that ‘what if’ was converted to a real plan and the transformation was incredible for the patient, for her family and for me.
Thank you for reading,
Mohsin Patel BDS MJDF RCS (Eng)