The word “gentle” is not just the first word in the name of a local dentist office, it’s the focal point of how patients are treated by Dr. Cedric Papa, DDS and his staff at “Gentle Healthy Smiles.”
The key to their gentleness is the ability to be in-tune and concerned about the feelings and experience for every patient.
“All of our decisions at ‘Gentle Healthy Smiles’ are based on how we would want to be treated when we are the patient,” Dr. Papa said. “We don’t ever start with the standard-sized needle, but rather the very smallest (and thinnest) ever made for dentistry. We use the very smallest burs (cutting instrument) ever created, and the smoothest, quietest hand-pieces (drills).”
In knowing that no one technique or approach works for every patient, the staff, led by Dr. Papa, are ready to adjust at any given moment to preserve a patient’s feelings.
Every moment is started slowly with a light touch and gradually increased to a needed and required working speed to get the job done.
“(We have to) be ready at any given moment to stop or slow down if the patient has a sensitivity or a concern,” Dr. Papa said.
In order for any dentist office to be “gentle” with every patient, practitioners must develop a caring and unselfish personality and carry it for their entire career.
Any dentist can apply any technique once or twice or for a while, but to keep it up day after day through tens of thousands of patients, it takes a true dedication and focus on tip-toeing around every patient’s feelings during every minute, every day.
“Honestly, it’s very tiring, it’s emotionally draining to be on the edge of your seat with every step of every procedure,” Dr. Papa noted. “It’s even harder on the dentist’s legs and back if he’s straining to visualize every detail during an injection or procedure. Time wears you down. It’s very, very easy to get casual and just stop caring.”
That’s where the “gentle difference” comes into play. Dr. Papa says he always has and always will go the extra mile to always care about everything a patient is feeling. He added that he’s never going to get casual with a patient’s feelings.
Many patients have common dental anxieties that are rooted in a loss of control while submitting how they feel to another person’s will.
Dr. Papa said he doesn’t want patients to turn over that control and insists they maintain it. Keeping the patient in control is a very important aspect of what makes “Gentle Healthy Smiles” different.
“Control the pace, interrupt us for any reason, and customize the appointment to fit your feelings and needs,” Dr. Papa noted…”When you need a break, need us to slow down, or hurry up, move the cotton roll, take out the bite block, explain more, talk less, turn the movie up, use more suction-whatever it is: we want to know, and we want to adjust to make you as comfortable as possible.”
“Gentle Healthy Smiles” offers patients noise-canceling headphones and a good movie to help patients be able to enjoy their trip to the dentist.
“(They) are exactly what me and my family want during their appointments so we assume every patient should have access to them too,” Dr. Papa noted.
Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) is also available.
“One of our most telling statistics that we are truly keeping patients in control and fulfilling our “gentle” goal is in the vast majority of our patients who come to us with existing dental anxieties or fears, often needing nitrous for every procedure, eventually realize they will consistently be comfortable and indeed “the boss” in our hands and no longer need nitrous or to hold on to their old dental fears.”
To set up an appointment at either the Vandalia or Mexico office, call “Gentle Healthy Smiles” at 573-594-6166.