What is a ‘Dental Consultation?’

We often hear Dentist’s tell us that we need a ‘Dental Health Consultation’ and how important this process is for THEM – but often, we don’t know exactly what this means or what the ‘consultation’ entails, which can add an unnecessary level of stress and anxiety before you even get the to the Practice!

So how does Hartley Dental buck this trend?

Well, firstly we have a clear process in place for any new patients who may be looking to be treated at Hartley. We always like to gain an accurate picture of the status of any potential patients Oral Health, and any wants and needs they have so we can make a full diagnosis, explain the issues and then tailor the treatment plan around what the patient wants and may need.

It’s really important for us to gain an understanding of what each person wants and desires, which can only happen by us listening to what they have to say and taking this very seriously – rather than just dictating a solution, without listening to what the person actually wants! The Hartley ‘consultation’ takes the form of a 24 Point Oral Health Assessment (a 1.5 hour appointment), which includes the following Oral Health checks by our Dentist Charlie:

  1. Oral Cancer Screening – A check for signs of potential Oral Cancer (Cancer Research UK states that there were 2,386 deaths in the UK from Oral Cancer in 2014 – yet the preventable rate of Oral Cancer in the UK currently is 91% – mainly through early diagnosis and swift treatment).
  2. Gum Health Check – Gum disease is something that primarily takes two forms – Gingivitis (inflammation of your gums) and Periodontal Disease (disease affecting the supporting tissues of the teeth). If left untreated, this can potentially lead to bleeding, pain and tooth loss. Don’t worry though, there are plenty of solutions that can treat and possibly cure these issues! Ongoing maintenance with the hygiene team will keep you healthy.
  3. Teeth Health Check – This is to check for tooth decay, wear and damage to fillings, teeth and other restorations. Decay is the primary reason for treatments such as fillings or even tooth extractions.
  4. Lifestyle Check – Helping educate our patients around the dangers of excessive sugar intake, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are crucial here too.
  5. X-Rays are taken to check for decay, assess bone and assess the health of your teeth and the surrounding gum and bone, which supports your teeth and ultimately keeps them in your mouth!

Not all the checks carried out are listed here, but hopefully you get the gist! The key thing we look to do throughout this process is to communicate with you about what is happening at every point of the consultation and what this might mean for you personally – we stress that no two patients are the same.

So the above takes care of what the actual Dentist will complete during your initial consultation, but what if you are unsure of what’s been said or they used jargon you don’t understand? This is where our treatment coordinators come in!

So what’s a ‘Treatment Coordinator’ and what do they do?

We have two Treatment Coordinators at Hartley (Nicky and Rachael), who are fully qualified, registered, trained and experienced Dental Nurses. Nicky and Rachael are here to take the time to explain what everything means and what Hartley can offer to help get you to where you want to be with your Oral Health.

They will spend half an hour with you before your 24 Point Oral Health Check, accompany you during that check with the Dentist and then spend half an hour with you afterwards to explain what was said in plain English, what the Dentist’s assessment means for you and answer any questions you may have, whilst always listening to your views, values and opinions. We don’t want you to go away with any unanswered questions or worries. We have found that this process particularly helps with nervous or anxious patients, of which we get plenty!

Charlie will then form a bespoke treatment plan for you, which will give you treatment options and costs – which focusses on improving your Oral Health and giving you that great smile as well! This is essentially a ‘no obligation quote’ and it is entirely up to you whether you proceed with any of the suggested treatment. One of the Treatment Coordinators will always follow up with you to make sure you are happy and answer any further questions that you may have.

At Hartley the team believes that this process is ethical, efficient and most importantly patient led – making the process about you, your Oral Health and your smile!

Dr. Charlie Fox (GDC: 65235),
Nicky Banks (GDC: 124766),
Rachael Moore (GDC: 156427).