Podcast Episode #2: Your First Visit
Your First Visit
Melody: Hi, and thanks for joining us on our next podcast. We are very excited to be able to chat with our patients in this relaxed but informative way.
My name is Melody and joining me in this chat is Dr Sam Ooi, the principal dentist and owner of Passion Family Dental North Lakes. Hi Sam!
Sam: Hi, everyone!
Melody: In today’s chat we wanted to explain what to expect when you come in for an appointment with us.
Sam: I just want people to know that I am not a scary dentist. I don’t look scary do I, Melody?
Melody: Not in the least bit scary, Sam. You are the most relaxed and chilled person I know! Once patients come in and meet you they soon relax and wonder what they were ever worried about. Making people feel at ease is one of the things you are really good at.
Sam: Thanks for saying that, Melody. I am just being “me” so I hope the patients like me.
Melody: Everybody likes you, Sam!
Now let’s get back to what patients can expect when they visit us. I guess that depends on a lot of things. Age, why you have come in, and your level of nervousness. There is no way we can describe what a visit to us would be like for everyone because we treat everyone as an individual. Your visit may be completely different from someone else’s because your needs are different.
Having worked in dentistry for a long time, mostly here in the Mango Hill, Kallangur, Redcliffe areas, we know that just about everybody that walks through our door is nervous, it just the level of nervousness that varies.
Sometimes people have had a previous bad experience, some have a phobia of needles or dislike the sound of the drill. There are all different reasons why people would be nervous of the dentist, and we totally understand that.
It is important to let us know so that we can work with you to make the appointment as easy and comfortable for you as possible. We always treat our patients with tender loving care, but sometimes we have to be extra caring and gentle.
Sometimes we find that patients put off their treatment because they are embarrassed about their mouth, they simply don’t want to show their dentist how bad their teeth are. Please never be embarrassed with us.
We understand that patients put off coming to the dentist, we are just glad that you have come in to see us now! We find working on these types of patients very rewarding, seeing them transform from someone who hides their mouth to someone smiling confidently and looking forward to their next visit to us – WOW!!! I love my job!
First Visit Child
We are finding that children are probably our most confident patients. Occasionally we get a shy little one come in but in no time we usually have them giggling and having fun.
Sam: I love it when children come in for a visit. I let them push all the buttons on the chair.
Melody: And the kids absolutely love it! We make the appointments relaxed and a lot of fun for the little ones. As Sam said, they get to push all the buttons on the chair and see what everything does. We never push a child beyond what they are happy with, they drive and guide the appointment.
When it comes to the actual exam most kids don’t even realize Sam is doing one! He plays games with them and gets them to help him count their teeth, all the while he is having a really good look at what is going on in their mouth.
Depending on the child, the room does get a bit noisy sometimes with all the fun we have. We usually bring out Mr Sparkles, our friendly little dragon that we use to show kids how to properly brush their teeth. As I said it is a lot of fun.
As we’re talking about kids, I should probably also mention the Medicare Children’s Dental Benefit Scheme. The government have a scheme where eligible children aged 2 to 17 can receive $1000 every two years to spend on dental. You have to be receiving part a or b from Centrelink to qualify. If you want us to check for you or explain this further then give us a call at the practice.
Sam: It’s so good that we can see kids under this scheme.
Melody: Definitely, and the parents love it too because they don’t have to pay a single cent for their kids’ treatment!
Now let’s talk about what happens when someone books in with a toothache. When you call us and say that you have a toothache we try to get you in as soon as we possibly can.
Sam: I really don’t like knowing that someone is pain when I know I can help them.
Melody: As I said, we will get you in as soon as we can. When booking your appointment in I need to get some information to help Sam prepare for the appointment, to help us start figuring out what your problem could be so.
I will ask things like “Do you have any swelling? Does your tooth hurt with hot or cold foods or drinks, or to bite on? Are you taking painkillers?” All of this gives us clues as to what is happening in your mouth. I will also ask which tooth it is.
If it is a wisdom tooth we may need to give you a referral to get an OPG taken before your appointment , this is an x-ray that shows all your teeth and jaws and gives us more information than what we can get for the smaller x-rays we take in the clinic.
These x-rays are taken at a radiologist, they only take a few minutes, you don’t need an appointment and they are bulk billed so the cost is covered by Medicare.
When you come in we will chat a bit more about your toothache and gather some more information, we will have a look at the tooth and do a few tests, such as taping the tooth. We often need to take a standard x-ray so that Sam can see what is happening at the base of the tooth or under a filling.
We will show you the x-ray and explain what we see and give you treatment options. This way you are fully informed and can decide for yourself what you want to do, we will always help and advise you but we will never push you into a particular treatment, after all it is your mouth!
Then, depending on what you have decided, we will carry on with that treatment. Only occasionally do we have to give you a prescription and get you to come back another day for treatment, we usually address the problem immediately.
Broken tooth or lost filling
We probably follow the same routine if you have lost a filling or broken a tooth. We understand that you time is valuable and try to fix your problems as quickly and easily as possible.
Sam: I try to always find the time to fully help my emergency patients, not just a quick check and reschedule for another day.
Melody: I think that is one of the many things that sets you aside from most other dentists.
Exam and clean
For patients who are booked in for an exam and clean we usually put aside about an hour for your appointment. After a little chat to see if you have anything bothering you or any concerns, Sam will have a look around your mouth.
Together Sam and I will chart everything we see – existing fillings, decay, missing teeth etc. We will then usually take two small x-rays that shows us what we can’t see with the eye – that is what is happening below the gum or under a filling.
Sam will then show you the x-rays and explain everything to you. This is an important part of the appointment because we want our patients to be aware of what is going on in their mouth so that we can work with you to help you achieve the smile you want.
We then move on to the clean. Sam would have to be the most thorough dentist I have ever worked with when it comes to doing a clean! He is amazing! Firstly, we use an ultrasonic cleaner, this is a cleaning devise that spray water and vibrates super-fast, it helps remove all the calculus that is really stuck on to the teeth.
Next Sam uses a hand scaler that removes any smaller pieces of calculus that is remaining. To check that he has it all and your teeth are nice and smooth, Sam will then floss each tooth. Next is the part everyone enjoys – the polishing!
This is very similar to using an electric toothbrush at home but we use a rubber polishing head and a much more abrasive toothpaste. I think we are using bubble gum flavoured paste at the moment. Yum. Now that your teeth are nice and shiny and clean, Sam will apply some fluoride, this not only helps makes your teeth stronger, it can also help with any sensitivity you may have after your clean.
Sometimes a patients teeth may have had a layer of calculus on them for some time so the teeth can be sensitive when it is removed, don’t worry though, we will give you a free sample of sensitive toothpaste if you think this may be the case for you.
Sam: We will also give you a goody bag with a new toothbrush and some toothpaste!
Melody: We sure do! The toothbrushes we give to adults is biodegradable so it is environmentally friendly! We all have to do what we can to help save the planet for our kids.
Sam: We are saving the world one toothbrush at a time!
Next visit and payment
Melody: After your appointment I will take you back out to reception and book you in for your next visit. Even if you have fished all your treatment we still like to book you in for your next exam and clean, even if it is in six months’ time. Don’t worry, we send out plenty of reminders as nobody really knows what they are doing in six months’ time.
By the time we have your next visit booked in, Sam will have had time to enter into the computer the treatment details for the work we have just completed. We will firstly process your health fund if you have one (don’t forget to bring in your health fund card to every appointment, without it we can’t claim back immediately for you), I will work out any discounts you are entitled to, leaving just the balance for you to pay. Nice and easy.
I think the discounts and offers we have are something we should certainly mention as well. Most patients will, at some time usually book in for an exam and clean, the same way we regularly have our cars serviced with a grease and oil change.
We know the value of these appointments and would like to encourage everyone to have these essential treatments, so we have bundled these services together and charge our patients a minimal price. If we were to charge them all through separately, as is the standard way of doing it, the total fee would be over $300 but we have reduced this to only $178 for new patients.
This includes the full exam, two x-rays, thorough clean and fluoride. That is such a great price, Sam. I am so proud to work in a practice that values the patients more than the dollar. We have got a few other great offers for our patients that can be seen on our Passion Family Dental website if you would like to have a look. We see patients from not only North Lakes but also the surrounding areas such as Kallangur, Deception Bay, Rothwell, Kippa Ring and Griffin, to list just a few.
Sam: Melody, do you want to mention the VIP discount?
Melody: I can if you want, Sam. We have developed a VIP Membership Program; it is like a loyalty program for our patients. It is obligation and cost free to join. What is gives you is no charge for consultations and 10% off any standard treatments. Our patients really appreciate the advantages of joining.
Now what else should you know before you come in?
Location and parking
Where we are – if you’re traveling from one of the nearby suburbs such as Rothwell or Deception Bay, the easiest way to find us if you are using your GPS is to enter 4 Sibley Street, North Lakes.
Our official address is Endeavour Boulevard but that is more where the letter boxes are for the centre. On Endeavour is the North Lakes police station, then the physiotherapist then Fort Café, we are around the back entrance to Fort Café in Sibley Street.
The complex we are in does have allocated parking so keep an eye out for the ones we have allocated to us, or you can park on the street or in an unmarked spot. We are wheelchair and pram friendly.
Well, I think that covers all the important information patients like to know before they come in to see us. The most important is to know that we are on your side! Our role is to help you! Sam, Alison and I will do all that we can to make your each and every visit as relaxed and enjoyable as possible. If you ever have any questions, concerns or worries then please let us know, we want to work with you to help you achieve a healthy and confident smile.
I hope you have enjoyed listening to us and that this podcast has helped you learn a little about what to expect when you come in for a visit. Thanks for listening!
Sam: See you soon!