Everyone experiences pain differently

The patient is not a lathe, on which the same pieces are made. Everyone experiences pain differently

Dr. Ventsislav Stoev is the only dentist in Bulgaria with a Master’s degree in clinical psychology. In his practice in the dental clinic Apollonia he uses unconventional treatment methods, including various forms of hypnosis. He believes that the good communication between a doctor and a patient is one of the main prerequisites for successful and eff ective treatment.

Why is it important for a dentist to be a good psychologist as well?

The most important thing in a medical treatment, not only dental, is to make the patient trust you. There is no second chance to make a fi rst impression. Even if we suggest the perfect treatment plan to a patient, if he doesn’t trust us, he would never pay for it. In addition, aft er 30 years of practice, I have strong conviction that patients avoid going to the dentist, not because they have no money, but because they are afraid.

Can patients overcome this fear?

Each of us has had his own experience as a patient since childhood, whether with a physician or with a dentist. If the doctor has been rude to the patient, this leads to a psychological trauma, which remains for the rest of his life. In fact, one can refuse to undergo treatment as a whole or go to the doctor only in extreme cases. That’s why each doctor should be aware that people come with their fears. When a patient sits on the dental chair, he carries his black box of memories with him. And if we do not take this into consideration, we cannot treat him properly. If this fear exists, it aff ects even the anesthesia, and the whole treatment. Because of that there are diff erent methods to overcome the fear of the patient.

What exactly are these methods?

Making the patient trust you is the easiest and most aff ordable method. There are medicament options, but there are also some special methods such as hypnosis. This method, for instance, is suitable to treat dental phobia. This is the persistent fear of dental treatment, which is developed as a form of disease in childhood or at a later stage, and Dr. Ventsislav Stoev: The patient is not a lathe, on which the same pieces are made. Everyone experiences pain diff erently is related to specifi c traumatic experiences. With hypnosis it can be overcome. My way to psychology actually began with hypnosis. I had a specialised training in hypnosis, but I saw that it represents only one method of impact, one of the methods of psychology. So I enrolled in Sofi a University and got my master’s degree in clinical psychology. My master’s thesis was about the eff ective communication with patients. I keep using hypnosis in my practice not only to treat fear, but for its other applications as well.

In what other ways can hypnosis be applied?

For instance, it is a method of choice, when a patient suff ers from multiple allergy, i.e. – he is allergic to many things, to many medicaments. So, the patient’s allergic, and we can’t even put him an anesthesia, we can’t take out a tooth. The patient is put into hypnosis and is suggested the absence of pain. The tooth is taken out, or some other treatment is applied. I have even placed implants to a patient in hypnosis. Dental phobia can be overcome in terms of one similar session. But as I said hypnosis is just one method, in psychology there are many more methods to aff ect the patient. Even more interesting are the diff erent ways to identify the patient and his character. We are followers of a school that looks at fi ve main characters and we do a very quick diagnosis of the patient just on his entering the clinic – by his walk, appearance and look, you can determine what his character is.

What is the connection between the patient’s character and the way he will be treated?

It is a very deep connection. We treat one type of character one way, and another type – diff erently. The patient is not is not a lathe, on which we work and produce the same pieces. Everyone is diff erent and experiences diff erently each disease. For some, experiencing dental pain can be a matter of endurance, a display of strength, of courage, for others, however, it is incredibly hard experience and the whole world ends in pain. If the doctor approaches the same way each patient, the eff ect will never be the same.

Interview with Dr. Stoev for “Vagabond”