Patients are not just cases, they are people

Patients are not just cases, they are people

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.

Why is it important to have a good relationship with your patient?

It’s a matter of trust, and a good dentist should know how to concentrate on the patient, not simply on the patient’s problem. In Apollonia Clinic we have many patients, including foreigners and expats, who have
Dr Ventsislav Stoev Patients are not just cases, they are people
been visiting us for years now. Dental medicine should be about prophylaxis rather than how to treat the problem. If we leave the matter till the problem arises, the consequences can be severe. Even though modern dental methods can do wonders, such as implantology and aiding bone growth for the implants, it is still better to avoid a situation in which the tooth can not be salvaged. Th erefore we call our patients every six months for a prophylactic examination – as most of the dentists who are members of the Association of Bulgarian Dentists do.

What is the patient’s guarantee for good treatment?

In the Association, the member clinics carry ISO certifi cates that regulate the procedures and the technology used in the practice in compliance with European standards. Th is provides a certain level of quality that the patients trust. We also strive to provide a unifi ed high standard of service, using practices which are applied worldwide to great success. Th e results are transferrable. For example, in the Bulgarian Health Tourism Cluster, which unites ten dental clinics in the four major cities, tour operators, a bank and an insurance company, patients visit Bulgaria in order to get dental treatment. Th e chain of services on the Cluster provides everything the visitor needs: accommodation, trip planning, funding. With our partner from the insurance company we have developed a product to cover possible complications that may arise aft er treatment, when the patient has gone back home. Th is is an innovative practice in the EU and one that can give patients peace of mind that they are taken care of.

And what is the dentist’s mindset to the treatment?

For me patients are not simply cases; they are fi rst and foremost people. Th is perspective helps greatly to remove the pain associated with dental treatment. For my dissertation
in clinical psychology I and some colleagues carry out research on fear and stress before the treatment; these factors are essential to understand so that the dentist can respond accordingly. It is also important to talk to the patients about their expectations, to involve them in the process of treatment. Th is is the way to achieve great results in treatment and excellent dental health from there on. We continuously strive to improve the quality of dental services off ered in Bulgaria. Th e Association has created Centre for Professional Education, recognised by the National and we off er a course in dental assistant – in eff ect, a dental nurse to supplement the activities of the dentist. Th is is again in line with the European and international standards, stressing largely on the practice and also teaching medical law, anatomy, communication and others. Th e certifi cates that the dental assistants receive will be valid throughout the European countries, but we hope that they will stay in Bulgaria to help us further raise the quality, as well as our reputation in the eyes of people coming on medical tourism.

Interview with Dr. Stoev for “Vagabond”