In the Chair | 19 April, 2018

In The Chair with Dr Branka Starcevic

How do you make your patients feel comfortable when they come to visit you?

I like to use humour to make my patients comfortable. I have a couch in my room., and that couch acts as an ice breaker. It is incredible how comfortable people feel just by walking in and seeing that couch. 

Most people then make a joke about wanting to sit on the couch rather than the dental chair. We have a laugh and then I invite them to sit in the VIP chair!

One of the things that I love most about my job, is helping people overcome their dental fears and their anxieties.

I have seen many grown adults come into my room trembling, or crying with fear and anxiety, embarrassed about their fears. Unfortunately, bad dental memories are hard to erase. This fear has crippled them and many haven't seen a dentist in a very long time.

My love of dentistry and my ability to connect with my patients is what makes me strive to make sure that everyone is comfortable. I want them to leave with confidence and I want to help them overcome any fears they may be holding on to. When that happens I know that I have helped them overcome something significant in their life.

Why are more and more people overcoming their fear of the dentist in this day and age? 

Dentistry has changed so much, specifically in recent years and many people don’t realise this. Techniques have improved, technology has simplified many procedures and there is a greater level of focus on patient care and comfort.

I have had patients that have come in for very basic dental treatment and we have used sedation because of their anxieties. Some of these patients have needed multiple dental appointments and often the patients will feel more comfortable after the first visit is complete and not need sedation again. They'll say "Oh, I think I'll be fine next time without it".

We offer intravenous sedation (IV or twilight sedation) which has the added benefit of memory loss. Most patients will have little or no recollection of the procedure which is why they seek IV sedation in the first place/ We have a GP come to our practice and administer the IC for the patient. They've been doing that in our town for the dental practices for around 30 years or more so we have it down to a very good routine.

We recently had a patient who had her wisdom teeth extracted under IV sedation. During my follow up call the next day I asked her what she remembered from her visit. She said "I don't remember anything. I don't remember getting there, I don't remember what happened and I don't remember going home". She was very happy as she did not want any recollection of the procedure.

Where can we find Branka outside of the Channon Lawrence dental practice?

At the races. (Branka laughs)

I am very family orientated. I love spending time with my family, especially my daughter.

I also love to travel! It's a big wide world out there and I am trying to make it smaller.

Branka is an unusual name, where is it from?

Well, I was actually born in Vukovar in the Eastern part of Croatia. It is where the civil war broke out back in 1991 with Vukovar being the first place bombed. I remember watching it unfold on the news which was heartbreaking. It was bombed really badly and they are still rebuilding it although it will never be the same. Croatia is such a beautiful country. If you ever get the chance put it on your travel list.

Are you interested in learning more about Dr Branka? Click here to read her dental biography or book an appointment online at Channon Lawrence.