Lakewood Dental Puts Focus On Education, Patient Comfort
Dentists get a bad rap. The drilling. The numbing shots. That awful-tasting pink paste does … what again?
Dr. Matt Niewald, whose Lakewood Dental practice has been treating patients since 2005, has heard all this before. He understands it. Nearly every day, patients freely concede they’d rather be anywhere but in that chair.
“Dental fears are often the product of misinformation or previous bad experiences. We take every step in our office to allay dental fears in the phobic patient,” says Niewald. “These fears are often overcome through patient education, and new techniques which significantly reduce the discomfort sometimes associated with a dental visit. The importance of taking your child to the dentist prior to the age of three significantly reduces the likelihood of dental fears later in life.”
Originally from the east-central Missouri town of Owensville, Niewald has been a resident of Lee’s Summit for 11 years. After attending dental school at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Niewald decided that Lee’s Summit was a great community to start a practice and raise a family. He sits on the board of directors for the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce, and is a past president of the Missouri Dental Association. In November, he was named the 2015 Dentist of the Year by the Missouri Dental Association. He lives in Lee’s Summit with his three sons, Aidan, Ethan and Parker.
Niewald was drawn to Lee’s Summit; in part by the way it blended big-city amenities with the small-town charm he recalls from Owensville. “While living in the KC metro, Lee’s Summit became appealing due to its fast paced economic growth, great schools, and the sense of community that existed,” he says.
But on a nearly daily basis, Niewald’s practice encounters something that’s common everywhere, whether it’s Owensville, Lee’s Summit or New York City: a fear of the dentist. While all patients are treated with great care at Lakewood Dental, Niewald understands special attention must be paid to those who carry a certain extra level of dental anxiety.
“There are lots of new techniques that significantly reduce the associated fears of a visit to the dentist,” he says. “Education is, by far, the best method of overcoming dental fears. In the internet age, there is so much misinformation readily available to the patient. Discounting these falsehoods by actually ‘showing’ the patient accurate descriptions of their procedure goes a long way to allaying dental fears. We provide digital patient education that allows us to show step-by-step each procedure our office provides.”
But Lakewood takes things a few comforting steps further. Office staff have worked to remove the “clinic” feel of the office, Niewald says, by providing a comfortable waiting room with an at-home motif. Each dental area is equipped with flat screen televisions. Patients getting routine exams and cleanings can expect heated massage chairs.
“We strive to treat our patients as people who are like family, rather than as just a patient,” says Niewald. “We have patients ranging from age 1 to age 100. We like to set ourselves apart by providing patient focused, comprehensive care, and maintaining excellent oral health for our patients. We pride ourselves in the individual attention and great customer service we provide to each patient. At the end of the day, our patients are more akin to family than actual patients. It provides a great deal of satisfaction to both our employees and our patients.”