Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Can you Improve Yourself with a Book?

I'm obsessed with books - I absolutely love to read.   Unfortunately nowadays it takes me a lot longer to get through a book than it used to as the only time I have a chance to read is just before I go to sleep at night.  It's usually a sure sign that I need an early night when I re-read the same page of my book for the 4th night in a row and fall asleep halfway through it!  I'm sure a lot of you are the same - maybe you don't even have time for half a page.

In recent years I've become captivated by self improvement books.  As someone who struggles with anxiety and running a business in equal measure - I find myself drawn to books about confidence, psychology, leadership and business management.  I discover books via: Facebook; friends' recommendations; Amazon and dental business coaches, and read every one dreaming that I'll find the golden key to ridding myself of my anxiety and self-doubt or becoming the perfect leader.  Of course deep down I know that will never truly happen but I do always pick up a little tip or 2 out of each book and try to bring them into my daily life.

Like my favourite from "How To Win Friends and Influence People".  When you would like someone to do something for you: "Action springs out of what we fundamentally desire... First, arouse in the other person an eager want.  He who can do this has the whole world with him..." Which basically means when you are asking someone to do something for you, find out first of all what is in it for them - and tell them that if they do this thing for you, this is what it will mean for them. Ultimately people only do things which will benefit themselves.  I love the fact that a book that was first published in 1936 - nearly 75 years ago is still relevant today.

Then there's my most recent purchase "The Worry Trick" where David Carbonell, a renowned clinical psychologist recommends setting up an appointment with worry. It's amazing how when you actually sit down and allow yourself to worry about things for 10 minutes you eventually run out of things to worry about!  And speaking the worries out in front of a mirror really makes you see how silly some of them really are.

And just today, after spending the last few weeks in a constant battle with our 12 year old  trying to get her to do what she's asked and not sit and stare at the screen of a phone, I picked up a book I bought when she was just 7 called "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk".  Given that I'm only managing a page a night at the moment maybe I'll just give it to her to read and she can tell me where I'm going wrong - she's very good at that.

The best thing though I rediscovered in the last year or so was audiobooks and Audible.  I fondly remember listening to Enid Blyton audio cassettes as a child on long journeys and I'm sure I even had some 12" audio books I used to play on my Get Along Gang record player.  Oh and not forgetting all the Harry Potter books that Keith and I listened to travelling through the red centre of Australia - there's nothing quite like dreaming about being at Hogwarts!  My journey to work is about 40 mins and it's perfect for listening to a self improvement audio book - at least it means I get through more than a page at a time.  I sometimes even listen to them when I go for a run - I run a bit slower but I come back with loads of great ideas to bore Keith with!

So for me - and I know there's many who will disagree- I love self improvement books and the great ideas I get from them. And try an audio book on your next car journey - it's awesome! And at least if you're driving you won't fall asleep after the first page - hopefully!

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Guest Blog - Invisalign: A Patient's Perspective

For a wee change this month we have a guest blog from Gillian Cowie one of our lovely patients.  Gillian's Invisalign treatment finished in January of this year and she has written a great account which we really feel could help other patients thinking of having their teeth straightened.  When I called Gillian to ask if she had any photos I could share of her after her treatment she laughed and said she had so many to choose from because she just smiles all the time now!! A great story!

My treatment lasted 8 months, pain free, easy to use and one of the best investments I’ve ever made. 
Invisalign teeth straighten aligners are an alternative to metal wired braces and are virtually invisible. Only when I pointed the aligners out to family and friends they noticed I was wearing them.
I can’t recommend Invisalign enough, along with the Professionalism, Guidance and Care of my Dentist John Broers of Coatbridge Family Dentist. To say I am over the moon with the results is an understatement.
My teeth were overcrowded top and bottom, also I had a discoloured baby tooth that was hanging on by a thread! In fact, all my teeth were stained and yellowish in colour and not a pretty sight! John and I had talked at length at my options from removing the baby tooth, straighten my teeth and teeth whitening, something I wanted to do for a very long time. John talked me through my options, Invisalign appealed more to me.
He also showed me a 3D scan of my teeth pre-and post-treatment, when I saw the potential end results, I knew instantly this was the treatment for me. The fact the aligners are invisible and removable allowing to eat, brush & floss instead of unsightly wires, that I imagine would be painful when tightened. I was so excited and couldn’t wait to get started.
I signed up and nervously attended my 1st appointment for impressions, after a few weeks I received my 1st 1-4 week aligners, at this point John removed my baby tooth and filled in the gap in my aligners that looked like a tooth. I was shown how to fit my top & bottom aligner for week 1, I couldn’t believe how easy it was and I continued at home changing the aligners on a weekly basis.
An added bonus was when wearing the aligners it really makes you think twice about removing them just to eat for the sake of eating. This helped me focus on my eating that fitted in nicely with making healthier choices, eating and exercising. I couldn’t believe how much snacking I done between meals. You must keep the aligners in for 22 hours and after eating brush and floss, I mainly stuck to 3 meals a day and drinking lots of water.
I religiously brushed and floss my teeth after every meal and believe this aided on my pain free treatment with no inflammation or mouth ulcers.
At the end of my treatment, John fitted my bridge where the baby tooth was and fitted fine wire retainers top and bottom behind my teeth that can’t be seen, also retainers to wear overnight to minimise any natural movement. I finished off with a 6-8 weeks of teeth whitening.
For the first time in my life I am smiling with complete confidence and I love my teeth. My friends and family continue to comment on how good they look and the noticeable difference.
With the support from my Dentist John Broers, I found the whole process extremely easy, pain free and one of the best investments I have ever made, I wish I had done it years ago.
Should anyone be considering straightening their teeth I would highly recommend John Broers from Coatbridge Family Dentist and the Invisalign Treatment.
Thank you so much from a very happy smiley
Gillian Cowie 

Friday, 1 March 2019

How A Patient's Story Can Change Your Outlook On Life.

Keith had a patient in a few months ago  who was telling him about his son.  While he was young, he worked as hard as he could to make sure his little boy had everything he thought he needed.  He worked long hours, and was often away at weekends, all with the best of intentions.  When his son turned 18, he happily told him that he was getting on a bit so he was going to start winding down at work and maybe they could start spending some time together.  His son turned to him, dismayed and said, "Dad, you're too late.  I don't need you anymore, where were you when I really needed you?"  Keith's patient was devastated.  It's a hard lesson to learn and one that often comes too late in life.  All I could think when he told me about it was the lyrics of Harry Chapin's 'Cats in the Cradle' - which should be a song released for every generation just to remind us all that actually what your kids need from you more than anything is your time.

Running your own business is hectic.  Work doesn't just start at 8.30am when the first patient comes through the door, nor end at 5.30pm when you close the door behind the last.  Especially in these days of remote communication; it's too easy to log onto the practice computer system to catch up on patients notes, write treatment plans for life changing smile makeovers and chat to prospective patients through social media from home in the evenings.  And Keith and I often find ourselves sitting at the kitchen table, chatting about the direction the practice is going in, what have been our wins for the day or how are we going to deal with whatever situation has arisen with a patient or the team that day.  The kids next door watching telly.

And I know we're not alone in feeling that there are some weeks that go by and you never actually speak to each other about anything other than work, the weeks that you robotically do what the kids need you to do - but are you really listening to what they are telling you?

It's too easy when you're running a business too to be scared to take a holiday: what if something goes wrong when we're away; how will the business finances cope when you're not there generating the income thats needed?

But if you don't take time off and spend it with your family, the time quickly passes and before you know it, they're gone and as everyone and their granny keeps telling me - "you don't get that time back."

2 weeks ago was half term for us, our local council have wisely matched up 3 local holidays with 2 inservice days, meaning the kids get a full week off and usually it's the week before the English holidays so it often means a cheaper deal!

We took the plunge and decided to go on a skiing holiday - a first for the girls and I!  It was brilliant fun and totally different to anything we'd done before, but the best part about it how much time we got to spend together as a family.

We all skied together at the pace of the worst skier (me - kids have an amazing ability just to point their skis downhill and not worry about the consequences!).  When we got back to the hotel we all sat and played stupid games together and they all slagged me off for being a big feartie at the top of most of the runs. Just the 4 of us sat together for every meal and we managed to catch up with what's been happening in the life of our kids and each other.

The skiing was fun - but actually the best bit was all being forced together and enjoying the same activity together, it didn't really matter what it was.  Keith's patient hreally brought home to all of us how important family time is - whether it's a holiday abroad together, a campervan round Scotland together (I think that might be our next trip!) or actually just all chilling out together with some board games on a Saturday night.

I hope you all enjoy your time with your family this weekend.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Learning to Trust at a Difficult Time

This time last year was a difficult time.  Our youngest daughter Chloe, a gorgeous bubbly blonde 8 year old, had spent the previous 12 months randomly waking up through the night with severe stomach pains and vomiting, to the point that lime green bile was often all that was left to come up.  She was finally diagnosed with a blocked ureter - the tiny tube that takes the wee from your kidney to your bladder and scheduled for surgery in January last year.

There's nothing quite like taking your baby to the big, fancy, shiny new hospital on a cold January morning in the hope that they're going to fix her and make her feel better.  Handing her sleeping frame over to the anaesthetist to be whisked through the door into a theatre full of gowned, masked staff; cold, sterile instruments; and painfully bright lights.  It's a lonely walk back out in the opposite direction.

Walking in a haze around the wee Marks and Spencer food shop, pretending to be hungry for a sandwich, as people bustle around you, coming and going with their own distractions.  And then sitting in the soulless parent's room pretending to read a magazine, all the while worry constantly gnawing at you, having to trust that the people taking care of your little girl know what they're doing and have her best intentions at heart.  Because at the end of the day they are just people like you and I.

But there's really nothing quite like that endless time being over and the first time you see her again, drowsy and disorientated, but ok and in one piece.  And there's nothing quite like the gratitude that you feel for those people, people just like you and I, who make it their life's work to take care of others and to do their best to fix them and remove their suffering. No there's not a feeling like that in the world.

I've often thought about this over the last year and I often think about it from the other side and how it applies to us here at Coatbridge Family Dental Care.  It makes me feel proud that people are willing to put their trust in our team as healthcare professionals to fix them and make them feel better.  And it makes me feel proud of our team that they make it their aim in life to take care of our patients and have their best intentions at heart.  Because they're just people like you and I.

P.S.  we're very lucky Chloe is fine now - she hasn't been sick for a whole year!

What a difference a year makes!

Friday, 30 November 2018

Screening for Scary Stuff

A couple of weekends ago Keith and I were out for dinner with a group of good friends.  We don't get together very often and as usual it was a great night - one of those where the wine is flowing, everyone is on form and the chat is just hilarious, bordering on ridiculous!  I'm pretty sure the other diners were glad the restaurant had given us a private room to eat in - even just the volume of the chat was probably quite off-putting!

At one point during the night I was telling everyone how Keith had been feeling particularly smug before we'd gone out because he was going to be the only person still in his 30s at the table that night!   His 40th is in 2 weeks, so he won't be feeling smug for long!  And the chat fell to his birthday and what he might like for a present.

One of our friends, who's a little older than the rest of the group, was told us how he received a lovely present just a couple of days after his 50th.  It came in an envelope and he thought it was a birthday card.  You can imagine his disappointment when he opened it to find his bowel screening card!  If you ever needed something to make you feel your age - that's it right there!  Once again I'm sure the other diners were glad of our quarantined area, as the conversation turned to - how do you actually do that?  Do you need a pair of latex gloves?  The joys of what we have in store in 10 years time!  Our friend was pretty keen not to do it, and we all rounded on him - "You must, you must, it might save your life."  But it's easy for us to say that when we're sitting there in our early forties, not having to contemplate the realities of doing it.  Then the thought... what about the poor postman handling all these samples?!  Make sure you seal it well!

Hopefully you've noticed that November has been Mouth Cancer Action Month. And I'm pleased to tell you that screening for mouth cancer is so much easier than for bowel cancer!

You might not even have noticed your dentist doing it in the past, but we're getting much better now at telling you that's what we're looking for when we look at your tongue, cheeks, soft tissues and neck lymph nodes, hoping to raise everyone's awareness.  And it's not something that we have to wait until your 50 to screen for, we do it every time you come in for a dental health check, no matter your age.  That's important because mouth cancer is starting to become more common in young people who are otherwise healthy.

Although smoking and alcohol are risk factors, mouth cancer can affect anyone.  As I said we check your mouth every dental health check, but you can check your mouth yourself in between and contact us if you have any concerns.
Here's what you should look out for:
  • A mouth ulcer which lasts more than 3 weeks.
  • Unusual lumps or swellings or red and white patches in your mouth.
If you're 50 and over I would definitely encourage you to return your bowel screening card, but it's good to know that mouth cancer is a lot easier to check for - no latex gloves required (well not for you anyway!)

Any concerns about your mouth, no matter if you think they seem trivial, call our team on 01236 421103.  It could save your life.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

The Challenge of the Year!

A couple of posts ago I wrote about how important it is to challenge yourself and this has certainly been a fortnight of challenges for the team at Coatbridge Family Dental Care!!  Last Monday we had our fantastic new computer system installed and after a full days training, it was Go Live! day on Tuesday.  If I'm honest I don't think Keith and I truly appreciated how difficult this challenge would be!  Our old system was very different to the new one and the conversion of all the patient information is still ongoing.  That, coupled with the fact that the whole appointment book set up and clinical note recording is a world apart from the way we used to do it, has certainly caused a couple of weeks of sleepless nights for the team!

But our team is what today's blog is really about.  And it's a massive thank you to them all.  The conversion has been really tough, but I can honestly say without hesitation,  I don't think I've ever worked with a dental team who have had a more positive, can do attitude than ours have in the last 2 weeks. On top of the computer system going in, one of our instrument washer disinfectors broke down, our phones stopped working, the light on one of the chairs gave up the ghost.... and yes there have been times I'm sure that we've all wanted to scream at each other! But through it all they have remained professional, upbeat and determined to ensure our exceptional patient care remains paramount.

In the long run, the new system will be of huge benefit to both our team and our patient care, and by keeping that at the forefront of our minds we have been able to work through all the difficulties we've encountered.  

A big thanks also goes to our patients who have been extremely understanding and patient with us all this week.  They've been having lots of fun using our clinical pads instead of filling out paper forms!  The quest to go paperless starts here!

To experience both our fab team and our new computer system give Coatbridge Family Dental Care a call on 01236 421103!  But please be patient for the next couple of weeks!!

Prosecco All Round!

Friday, 28 September 2018

Teaching Keith To Do The Floss

I know it’s been around for a while but last weekend our daughter Chloe decided that it was time she really made a concerted effort to teach Keith ‘The Floss’.  Now you may not know this but Keith has a bit of a reputation amongst our staff and our friends for being a pretty rubbish dancer.  Give him a Strip the Willow or a Dashing White Sergeant and he’s a force to be reckoned with, but we described his step – tap (isolated from the knee down), as dad dancing way before our eldest Rachel came on the scene.  Having two daughters who go to ballet and modern every week means he really doesn’t stand a chance in our house.

So the kids have been going on about the floss for months and we’ve both looked on in desperate confusion at how they can be that coordinated - and do it so fast!  When I was watching Chloe try to teach Keith in a step by step “you can do this daddy” fashion last week it struck me how different people are when it comes to coordination.  Keith can spend hours of his day coordinating his hands and his brain while looking in a mirror in a tiny black hole and dealing with tongues, saliva and all manner of other slippery obstacles.  Can he move his arms and hips in the opposite direction in time to a beat? Not a hope!

But what about these patients that we ask to floss their teeth for us everyday?  Perhaps they are fantastic at doing ‘The Floss’ perhaps they can just feel the rhythm and do it instinctively, but put a bit of dental floss in their hands and make them look in a mirror and they can’t even get their fingers into their mouths.

That’s why its really important for us to take the time to talk to our patients and find out what works for them.  There’s more than one way to skin a cat.  If you’re struggling to coordinate hands and mouth there’s interdental brushes and electric toothbrushes.  We’ll work with you to find the right way for you to keep your mouth healthy.

I’m rubbish at flossing (the dance and the oral hygiene), my dental floss lives in my kitchen drawer and I use it to slice cakes in half longways (it makes them lovely and even!)  I know that interdental brushes work for me – they’re quicker and easier and leave me more time to do the million other things I have to do.

But back to ‘The Floss’, Keith did finally get it, albeit that he’s doing it at a ¼ of the pace of the girls.  Like anything (including dental flossing) practice makes perfect.  I reckon being made to watch the
next 12 weeks of Strictly will help him to improve his moves!😂

If you need advice on improving your dental moves call our team on 01236 421103.  We’ll be happy to help!

Oh and if you want to learn 'The Floss' and impress your kids: