Richard P. from Indianapolis, IN (Source: Yelp)
There’s nothing in the world like a second visit to confirm that one’s experience wasn’t a fluke, whether that be positive or negative. So, in a sense, I eagerly anticipated my second visit to Indianapolis Dental Designs to begin what will be a series of appointments designed to dramatically improve my smile. This work is, quite honestly, a longtime dream of mine that has been constantly put on the backburner for both legitimate and fear-based reasons. What can I say? This was clearly no fluke. I received an e-mail early during the day of my appointment asking if I could possibly arrive 30 minutes earlier as they’d had a change in their schedule. I was able to make this change in my work day and arrived about 10 minutes before the scheduled time. This gave me time to psychologically prepare as I do definitely get an anxiety about dental work. As I’d experienced a wheelchair access issue to the exam room on my first visit, this also gave me the chance to check out the restroom prior to my appointment. Trust me, there’s nothing worse than a spastic paraplegic trying to crawl and transfer. It was a nice perk, by the way, that the office building in which Indianapolis Dental Designs is located has automated doors for wheelchair access and accessible restrooms on each floor. While I generally do fine with independence, accessible features definitely help. One of the things I’ve come to appreciate about the team at Indianapolis Dental Designs is that they adapt to the situation incredibly well and they do so with a smile on their faces. They have two separate doors into their actual offices from the waiting rooms and, oddly enough, one door is slightly not wheelchair accessible while the other one works just fine (It would likely be a challenge for someone in a larger chair). So, of course, when they tried to bring me in through the door that proved to be inaccessible to their surprise, they quickly shifted gears. While that seems like a minor shift, you’d be amazed how often I get “attitude” when I need just a little extra consideration. It went further. They’d clearly considered the accessibility issue from my first visit when I struggled a bit with that first exam room, because this appointment was in a different room that proved to be MUCH more accessible and didn’t require my crawling. It was a well considered and thoughtful gesture. This appointment involved a little bit of time with Beverly, who was just as thoughtful and considerate this time, and even more time with the hygienist. While I’m not 100% sure I got her name right, I’ve got to tell you that she was just the perfect combination of professional, personal, caring, and competent. First off, it was a relief to work with someone who understood my use of humor as a coping skill. While she didn’t quite always know when I was being serious, she seemed to instinctively understand. Have you ever worked with someone that you just instinctively believed actually cared? There’s a difference. You can have great customer service without caring, but there’s something almost transcendent about the experience of customer service, especially within the healthcare field, when you believe that someone actually cares. I think it enhances the trust, relaxes the defenses, and makes it possible to get the really difficult work done. This hygienist wasn’t hesitant to talk about the difficult areas like self-care and the ways in which I need to improve, but she also did so with tremendous compassion, patience and, at least my gut told me, an awareness that there was what Paul Harvey would call “the rest of the story.” At one point very early in this appointment for cleaning, she kind of stopped for a minute and reached through my defenses and said “I’m really glad that I get to work with you.” It was one of the most touching things I’ve heard from someone dealing with my physical being and, quite honestly, it established a level of trust that made me think “Okay, whatever happens she’s safe.” That’s HUGE with me. The cleaning itself went well. She was constantly aware of my anxiety and pain level and maintained connection by regularly checking in to make sure I was okay. I don’t think I could have communicated it, but I appreciated the check-ins. She took extra steps to ensure the experience was as anxiety-free and pain-free as possible, while also being thorough and honest throughout. As I embark on this journey, which for me represents one of those final “big steps” in recovering from years of abuse, I do so with a growing appreciation for the folks at Indianapolis Dental Designs who seem to beautifully weave together quality care with abundant compassion and a healthy dose of humor. Yep, I think it’s true. I hope it’s true. I’ve found my dental home.