Thursday, 6 September 2018

Challenge Yourself - You'll Feel Better For It

This blog post was nearly a rant about HBOS and why they are an incompetent bank but I didn't think it was fair to subject anyone to that on a Friday morning particularly when I could go on about it for at least 10 sides of A4 (front and back!! - picture Ross from friends and his angry face and you'll get where I am with them.)

So I'll save the ranting for my complaint letter later this morning and think about something a bit more positive here.  I've always wanted to write a book.  There it's out there in the public domain, there's no going back now.  Ever since I first read the first Harry Potter book - and realistically a long time before that, I've wanted to have that ability to capture people's imagination in the palm of my hand and take them on a journey with me.  What a talent to have!  I'm not sure then quite how I ended up down the blind-ended alley that dentistry is, but that's a blog post for another day.

Anyway, you come to a point in your life when you realise that all you do is get up in the morning, get the kids out to school, go to work, come home, taxi the kids around, do some more work, eat dinner and go to bed and it becomes an existence rather than life.  And you think to yourself there has to be more to life than this.  So one night when you've had a couple of glasses of wine you book yourself on a creative writing evening course thinking what a blast that will be.

I can't recall ever being more nervous sitting in a room than I was last night, particularly as we started introducing ourselves and over half the class were writing regularly and had box files of half written stories at home.   Half way through  we were asked to basically get down on paper the premise for the story we would write in the next 10 weeks - the genre, the characters, the setting, the plot - then the teacher came round and grilled us on our idea, pulling it apart to make sure it would stand up to writing.

It sounds terrifying and partly it was - but do you know what, it was invigorating!  It was like turning on a part of my brain that had been switched off for so long it was growing dusty in the corner.  I loved challenging myself.

It's so easy to get stuck in the mundaneness of the treadmill of life and not notice that its happened.  You've got to find time for yourself somewhere amongst that and take a chance at something new.  Enter a race, take up a new hobby, challenge yourself.  I promise you'll feel better for it.


This week I've challenged our team to take part in Muddy Muckers to raise money for St Andrews Hospice.  Getting muddy, fresh air and exercise and raising money for a fantastic local charity - what a brilliant way to challenge ourselves!  We've already had some really generous sponsorship in the practice and we're also collecting at

 At Coatbridge Family Dental Care we all look forward to hearing about your new challenges next time you're in the practice.  Keep us up-to-date with your lives by coming in to see us regularly for your dental health checks - I promise you'll feel better for that too.

Friday, 24 August 2018

Why Going to Legoland Made Me Proud of Our Team

In the last week of the school holidays Keith and I took the kids to London for a few days to see the sights.  We started off with a couple of days in Legoland, which the kids loved!  I have to say though as much as I had a great time with the kids and the rides were fun, the whole thing was slightly tainted for me by the staff.

In the 2 days we came across 1 team member who actually spoke to us in one of the lines, the rest were like robots, opening the gate, measuring the kids, checking your safety belts, all done with out so much as a smile or even any eye contact - they all looked miserable.  The restaurant for dinner was even worse!  There was just no engagement!

It got me thinking about how vital your staff are to your whole customer service and experience.  I was so excited about going to Legoland, so up for it and yet every encounter I had with a team member was a disappointment - think how many interactions and disappointments I had over the space of the 48 hours we were there!  It felt like they were so confident they had a captive market they didn't have to try anymore.

It just reinforced for me how vital the little things are when a patient comes to see us at Coatbridge Family Dental Care and how good our team are at it.  The fact that over half of our new patients come from existing patient referrals and a further third come off the back of online patient reviews tells me we are doing something right.  But what's really important is not to get complacent.  It's important every patient is treated the same way.

A smiling, welcoming face and eye contact from the reception team goes such a long way, along with a friendly chat particularly if a patient is feeling nervous.

We always ask our dentists and nurses to chat to our patients as they walk from the waiting room to the surgery and ask them how they are.

New nurses are asked to introduce themselves to patients and everyone wears their name badge.

Our dentists take the time to engage our patients in conversation, not just about dentistry but about their lives and take the time to find out about what's important to them because that's vital when we're dealing with your health and your smile.

And on the way out a little bit of banter with the reception team is always fun!

Thinking about it made me proud that our the customer service of our team is way better than a big company like Legoland,  They could learn a thing or two from us!

Experience great customer service by calling our team at Coatbridge Family Dental Care on 01236 421103.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Just Get Up and Get it Done!

Morning Everyone!!

Today I made myself a promise.  Today is the first day of my new habit where I will get up early in the morning and do something productive with my day before my kids get up.  And the first thing I will do is the last thing I want to do. 

This week Keith and I had a great opportunity to spend a day with Chris Barrow, a top business coach and someone who we’ve procrastinated about working with for a long time.  We got loads from the session to help us move the practice forward and help our patients more but as I listened to him speak I was aware that this guy is very focussed on his time and how he uses it.  He talked of getting up at 7am on a Sunday morning to reconcile his personal accounts for the previous week and all I could think was “Would I give up my cosy bed for that?”

And yet when I think about it I’m surrounded by successful people who do their best work in the morning – my friend who runs her own very successful PR company who I know gets up around 5 every day ( I know this because I often turn on my phone and she’s text me at that ungodly hour).  But think – by the time her kids crawl out of their beds at 8am she’s already done over a third of an 8 hour working day!

I was reading yesterday about a book called ‘Eat that Frog’ – I’ve added it to my to do list – and the author Brian Tracy talks about  If You Have To Eat A Live Frog At All, It Doesn’t Pay To Sit And Look At It For Very Long” this means develop the habit of doing the most important thing on your to do list first thing in the morning and don’t take too long about it.

On Wednesday, Chris set me the task of writing a blog.  I spent the whole of yesterday procrastinating over it – which stopped me getting anything else done and in the end I decided it was rubbish and deleted it.  But now here I am (granted I’m still in my warm cosy bed) at 7.15am (I know it’s not that early but the kids are still on holiday and you’ve got to start somewhere) writing a blog post.  And I feel proud!

I wonder how many of you procrastinate over making that dental appointment, or who make it in the afternoon, only to waste the whole day leading up to it worrying about it.  Or even those who make it at the end of the day then realise you’ve got too much to do and cancel it before you get there.  Perhaps it’s an idea to schedule your appointment first thing in the morning?  That way it’s done, you can get on with your day without worrying and think how smug you can feel that you’ve been and done it.

We open at 8.40am every morning  - perhaps going to the dentist is your frog – maybe its time to eat it.  I’ve just eaten mine – a blog post written in the first 20 minutes of my day!  I’m off to smugly wake up the children!

Call our team on 01236 421103 and eat your frog!

Gillian xx

Friday, 15 January 2016

What to look for if your child bangs their tooth

I was at swimming lessons in Coatbridge with my girls the other day when one of the mums asked me to have a look at her daughter's mouth as she'd fallen in the playground and banged her tooth.  

Now, being a dentist this happens quite a lot!  You'll be on a night out and someone will find out you're a dentist and the next thing you'll be standing in the middle of the pub examining someone's wisdom tooth and discussing the merits of sedation!  

Anyway, my friend's daughter had done a lovely job and had a swollen lip and a huge cut across her frenum (the wee attachment you can feel when you stick your tongue up between your front teeth and your top lip).

She's only 5, so was feeling quite sorry for herself, but I was able to reassure her that the cut would heal amazingly quickly.  Her mum, naturally, was more concerned about her teeth, so I had a wee look.  Now bearing in mind her age, she still has her baby teeth.  When I looked, I was looking to see if any of them had obviously been broken or moved.  Fortunately, they hadn't and actually everything looked normal.  

However, what I did say to her mum was to keep an eye on things.  With trauma to teeth,  the nerve in the tooth can sometimes die off.  So what I asked her to keep an eye out for was

  • Any pain in the tooth
  • Any discolouration in the tooth (turning grey)
  • Any swelling or a little bubble forming above the tooth
and I asked her to go to her dentist or speak to me if she saw any of those things.  

Usually if a baby tooth turns grey we would leave it in place until it comes out itself, but pain and swelling are signs of infection and an indication the tooth would need to come out.

My daughter did the same thing on daddy's watch a couple of years ago, and although her front tooth discoloured, theres been no signs of infection and she's due for it to fall out soon.

Trauma to an adult tooth can be an entirely different kettle of fish, but I'll look at that another day.

In the meantime, if your kids traumatise there teeth, or even you for that matter, give us a call at Coatbridge Family Dental Care on 01236 421103.  We'll be more than happy to give you some advice.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Tooth Whitening - The Safest Way

Last week we had a patient who came to see us after having tooth whitening carried out at her beautician.  She was distressed because her teeth and gums had been very sensitive since the treatment and she'd noticed white patches on her gums.
Thankfully we could reassure her that no permanent damage seemed to have been done to her teeth this time, but it highlighted to me that there are still people out there who are carrying out illegal tooth whitening and patients are really suffering. 
Part of my job is to ensure that I do the best for my patients and I just thought I'd take a moment to give you all some advice about the benefits of having your teeth whitened by a dentist.

Its Legal
The law says that tooth whitening is a 'dental procedure' that should only be offered and carried out by qualified dental professionals.  To check your dentist is qualified ask for their GDC number and check on

All dentists and their practices must adhere to strict cross infection and decontamination guidelines. By having your teeth whitened by your dentist you can be confident of the highest standards of cleanliness. Meaning no risk of person-to-person transmission of infections.
Bespoke Treatment for Your Needs
Your dentist can tell you honestly whether tooth whitening will work for you and your teeth. Crowns, veneers and bridges do not whiten with tooth whitening products.  Your dentist can advise you on the best way to achieve a whiter smile when you already have crowns and veneers.

The law says that tooth whitening products containing or releasing more than 0.1% hydrogen peroxide can now only be sold to a registered dental professional.  This means that you can be confident the products your dentist is using will have noticeable and long lasting whitening effect on your teeth.  Tooth whitening products or kits bought over the counter or on the internet do not release enough hydrogen peroxide to have a noticeable effect on your teeth.
You can be confident your dentist will be using tried and tested methods of tooth whitening with good clinical data to back them up. Please be aware of people who are not dentists offering 'peroxide free' tooth whitening treatments, some contain sodium perborate or chlorine dioxide and these can be very harmful. I've even heard of people using swimming pool chlorine to bleach their teeth - scary!
Because your dentist is the only person legally allowed to carry out tooth whitening, they will have insurance to cover this and all your other dental care.  Unfortunately if your whitening treatment is carried out by someone illegally they will have no insurance cover to protect you if they cause any damage to your teeth or gums.
For more information on safe tooth whitening please go to

Please stay safe if you're considering whitening your teeth, and if you have any questions about whitening treatments please call us on 01236 421103, or email

There's also information and patient videos about tooth whitening on our website

Friday, 23 May 2014

Is your child using the right toothpaste?

New advice issued last month, to dentists, by the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) has advised that the choice of a child's toothpaste can influence how effectively tooth decay is prevented.

As dentists we've known for a long time that it's important we assess each child as an individual in terms of their risk for dental decay.  This assessment allows us to determine the appropriate toothpaste (with the right level of fluoride) to recommend for a child.

The guidelines recommend that most children up to the age of 18 should be using toothpastes with 1000-1500 parts per million fluoride (ppmF).

Children with increased risk of tooth decay should use toothpaste with higher concentrations, with children up to 10 years recommended 1500ppmF and children from 10-16 years recommended 2800ppmF.

So do you know how much fluoride is in your child's toothpaste and which toothpaste they should be using?

Toothpaste can currently be bought in concentrations from 700ppmF to 1500ppmF, so it's worth checking if your child's toothpaste is up to the job!  All toothpastes have the level of fluoride marked on the box and on the back of the tube like this:

Toothpastes containing 2800ppmF and 5000ppmF are available on prescription.

The SIGN guidelines also stress that parents can play the most important role in helping their children avoid tooth decay by ensuring children routinely brush their teeth effectively.

The other key recommendations are:

  • Children should not rinse after they have brushed their teeth
  • Fluoride varnish should be applied by dentists at least twice a year for all children
  • Children under 3 should have only a smear of toothpaste on their brush

Your role as a parent:
  • Ensure your child brushes twice a day for 2 minutes (doing it for them until they can do it effectively themselves, usually around age 7/8)
  • Ask your dentist/childsmile nurse for guidance on toothbrushing technique and which toothpaste your child should be using
  • Ensure your child attends the dentist as regularly as we advise
  • Set a good example by looking after your own teeth and visiting the dentist regularly.
And remember here at Coatbridge Family Dental Care we are always here to give you advice with toothbrushing and your child's oral health, whether it's over the phone, an appointment with one of our qualified child smile nurses, or a health check with one of our experienced dentists.

Together we can give your children beautiful, healthy , confident smiles.