The new patient is the centre of the universe

The new patient is the centre of the universe

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 is also a president of the Association of Bulgarian Dentists, a voluntary group of dental practitioners and clinics in Bulgaria.

What are the high standards in dental practice?

We have created the Association of Bulgarian Dentists, which has the purpose of employing the best European practices. The member clinics, which number about 120, carry ISO certifi cates to guarantee the quality, procedures and equipment used. We hold conferences, encourage participation in forums abroad, discuss actively the latest developments in dental medicine and make suggestions to the authorities, trying to steer the public health practices toward better dental care. We also select the Dentist of the Year among the members and have developed a rigorous system of attestation for the title. The Board of Directors appraises carefully the years of practice, the equipment of the clinic, the training of the specialist, participation in forum in Bulgaria and abroad, articles and books written. In the end, the colleague who gathers the most points gains the title as well. The group of our members also celebrates together the day of the patron saint of dentistry – St Apollonia, as well as Christmas and July morning. Our motto, which is proven in practice, is that those who celebrate well also work well.

Do the patients seek out the better care specifi cally?

The patients learn to distinguish very quickly. We do not advocate some well-spread practices in Bulgaria such as pulling teeth, which is encouraged – the way things stand – by the National Health Fund. Instead, we have put in place a number of procedures to help us carry out prophylaxis of dental health so that we do not have to resort to this option. For example, every six months the patients get a call for a routine check-up. Th ey come; we may talk for a while, since for me it is like seeing a friend, not
Dr Ventsislav Stoev The new patient is the centre of the universe
a patient. Then I examine them and I am very happy if I tell the patient that there is nothing wrong. One of the key points for me is seeing the patients as something more than cases, seeing them as people. This helps immeasurably to make them feel at ease and remove the stress associated with a dental visit. Some of my patients have been with me for years on end and we have developed a strong bond.

What is the place of the relations between dentist and patient in the treatment?

Eff ective cooperation with the patient is vital. When trust is high, the process of treatment is much quicker and easier. Also, in my opinion successful treatment can only happen in team with the patient. Establishing good relations starts from the very fi rst visit. A new patient is the centre of the universe and everything goes around him or her. The expectations have to be examined so that the specialist can make sure that they are not unrealistic. The practice of the experienced dentist is diverse and features children, adults, Bulgarians, expats. Many foreigners also come to Bulgaria for dental treatment, and to this end we have created the Bulgarian Health Tourism Cluster. It unites dental clinics, tour operators, a bank and an insurance company, all of them promoting health tourism and taking care of its organisational aspects. Compared to the price of
treatment in many countries, Bulgaria can off er very competitive prices and compound that with the experience of visiting a gorgeous country. Our prices are about fi ve times lower than the British ones, fi ve to three times lower than those in Germany, three times lower than those in France and ten times lower than Swiss prices. The cost of a fl ight and accommodation package can be negated in the face of savings, while the dental care provided in Bulgaria is very much on the level of care in other countries – but at much lower price.

Interview with Dr. Stoev for “Vagabond”