✦ We all know how important it is to maintain the highest standards of personal hygiene and oral health is one of the key components of this.
It is imperative to keep your pearly whites in check and that’s why we decided to check in with Dr Raj Mohan Singh (BDS) of Ocean Dental Surgery in Port Macquarie to get the best tips on maintaining a smile bright enough to light up any room!
One of the most critical aspects of choosing the right dentist isn’t just how proficient he or she is but how trustworthy they are and how they make you as a patient feel. Most people don’t exactly place a visit to the dentists towards the top of their list of most desirable activities and it is therefore hugely important that you feel as relaxed and comfortable as possible when undertaking your regular visits to the dental surgery. Get this component right and visiting the dentist soon becomes much more of a pleasurable experience than a chore.
On meeting Dr Raj, one instantly feels at ease. It goes without saying that one would expect a healthy, warm smile from a dentist and this is exactly how we are met when we visit him in person at his Ocean Dental Surgery practice. Adding to the relaxed vibe are the cool and calm environs of the surgery itself, instantly placing one at ease.
Born and raised in India, Raj moved to Australia in 2010 with his wife Monika, also a dentist. Initially working in Melbourne then Ballina on the Gold Coast, Raj moved to Port Macquarie in 2012 where he has been practising for the last decade. He now has three dental practices on the Mid North Coast – in addition to Ocean Dental Surgery there is Lighthouse Beach Dental, Port Macquarie in the Watonga Street shopping centre and South West Rocks Family Dental Surgery at South West Rocks.
The Singh family are now fully settled in the local region that they call home, not only establishing themselves professionally but also raising a family of three children; two daughters aged eight and three respectively, and a four-year-old son. Raj and Monika consider Port Macqurie a great place to raise their family, with access to good schools and a generally safe environment with minimal traffic.
Denist as Artist
When asked why he chose dentistry as a profession, Raj replies: “Initially I was studying to be a doctor in Bangalore in India and there were several different fields open to me such as medicine, pharmacy, dentistry. I wouldn’t say it was entirely accidental but I kind of fell towards dentistry naturally. As strange as it may sound initially, I was drawn to dentistry because I was fairly good at art when I was younger. I always enjoyed drawing and creating, which I soon came to learn wasn’t too different to being a dentist in certain respects such as structuring and the design of teeth, dentures and so on. I qualified back in 2005 and haven’t looked back since!”
All of Dr Raj’s local practices offer comprehensive dental services such as standard check ups, cleaning, scaling and polishing to more intricate procedures such as x-rays, fillings, surgical extractions, root canal treatment, crowns, bridges, orthodontics, and denture services, including partial and full dentures. For more complex procedures and apprehensive patients there is also the possibility of IV sedation or nitrous oxide.
Technological advancements are present in every industry and dentistry is no different, something that Dr Raj is fully atuned to. He highlights a high-tech scanning CAD CAM machine as just one example of innovation that is progressing dental treatment. Conducting a comprehensive scan of the mouth, gums and teeth, the machine converts the image into a finely detailed 3D picture which is accurate to more than a million micrometres. This means there is no room for error and the hugely reliable machine technology ensures exact and reliable results everytime.
Conquer your fears!
It doesn’t take long for us to raise the elephant in the room question about denists and fear often being in the same sentence for so many people! Dr Raj greets this with a smile but is quick to explain that he completely understands the point and such widespread apprehension.
“I think often the full ins and outs of dentistry are generally unknown to many people and that, in turn, causes an inherent fear,” he says. “Subsequently, my philosophy and approach is to explain as much as I can in regards to procedures to try and make the patient as comfortable and relaxed as possible. As with many things, once you understand something, you tend to feel much more at ease and are willing to accept it. I guess it comes down to clear and thorough communication.”
He is quick to add that he and his staff ensure the entire process of a patient visiting the dentist need not be a daunting prospect and that by even making the appointment the patient has taken a huge, positive step forward. “That’s half the problem solved,” Dr Raj says.
Friendly, qualified reception staff then ensure each patient is greeted and made to feel at ease when visiting the practice. For particularly apprehensive patients this is when special attention is paid and when the importance of clear communication methods come to the fore. Talking about and pinpointing any form of fear and then finding an appropriate solution is the modus operandi for Dr Raj and his staff.
Similarly when dealing with younger patients. “It’s very much a case-by-case basis when dealing with children but the same approach applies in that we try to make them feel at home, comfortable and relaxed, talking to them clearly so as they understand and we can hopefully contain any fears they may have. Often that fear is transmitted from the parents so we pay special attention to the communication part in attempting to make everyone feel relaxed. Having said that, many of the children are often a lot less scared than the adults and usually don’t seem to care as much!”
One key aspect is having a child visit the dentist at an early age, Dr Raj explained, saying that children should first do this when their first teeth emerge, typically around the age of two. Often at that age a visit to the dentist will merely be for a check up but maintaining regular visits will lessen any apprehension as it becomes a standard routine which they can hopefully carry on without any trepidation throughout their lives. Likewise adopting a correct and thorough teeth brushing routine at home, something that should be encouraged around the same age.
It is this attention to detail and the personalised care of each patient that makes Dr Raj stand out and it is clear that the patient’s well-being and overall experience is paramount.
“The person I am treating is called a patient and I ensure we provide the very best in service at all times throughout their experience,” says Dr Raj. “Receiving positive feedback as a result of this is the most rewarding aspect of my job for sure.
“There have been numerous examples where I have conducted what I consider a relatively routine procedure that has in fact turned out to be life changing for the patient. Thanks to the dental work we have administered, their confidence has been greatly enhanced which has often seen them find a new love interest or secure a new job. They are the stories that I find most satisfying and that enable me to develop a strong, trustworthy relationship with my patients.”
As our visit comes to an end, we ask Dr Raj for one last piece of general advice.
“Visit a dentist on a regular basis,” he responds without hesitation. “Have your teeth cleaned and polished frequently and you will minimise most future potential problems and elimate around 90% of oral disease.
“Outside of frequent visits to a dentist it is ultimately your responsibility to keep your teeth and mouth healthy. Ensure you brush thoroughly twice a day, paying special attention to your nighttime brush which is the most important of all. Also, if you don’t already do so, make sure you floss.
“Make sure you are adopting these approaches diligently and it should ensure that your regular trip to the dentist becomes an even more pleasant experience!”
Ocean Dental Surgery
A. 2 Kooloonbung Close,Port Macquarie NSW 2444
Ph. (02) 6584 0385
Lighthouse Beach Dental
A. 1/46 Watonga St, Port Macquarie NSW 2444
Ph. (02) 6582 0322
South West Rocks Family Dental
A. 2-6 Landsborough St, South West Rocks NSW 2431
Ph. (02) 6566 6070
Opening Hours: Monday - Friday: 9am - 5pm
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