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Modern Dentistry

July 19, 2017

Filed under: Business of Dentistry,Uncategorized — Barry @ 10:20 AM

 

I keep getting asked the same question over and over again these days.

And I don’t like it.

You see, I am very sensitive about the way I look. I think I am in great shape, and I feel better than ever…the results of eating well, going to the gym and doing hot Yoga six days per week. I will be 70 years old at my next birthday…but…

My patients keep asking me when I am going to retire. They need to stop that! But really I have some mixed emotions about it.

On the one hand, I wonder why, all of a sudden patients are saying things like, “Hey Doc, you have to let me know when you’re going to retire,” or “Doc, I hope you give me plenty of notice before you retire so I can find another dentist.”

I wonder if they are just doing the math, because I don’t look or act any older. It’s happening so often that it is beginning to bother me. But I should be flattered.

After forty two years of practice what they are really saying (at least how I interpret it) is, “Thanks for taking care of me for all of these years.” In essence they are expressing the idea that they need me and that they appreciate me.

And that’s nice.

So often I hear how dentistry is a thankless profession. Sure there are those who thank us for specific things, and there are those patients who are naturally very grateful, but mostly we do our work without getting the recognition. And I am not speaking about that big beautiful cosmetic case. I am talking about everyday routine dentistry.

It’s nice to know that working hard for so many years to develop a relationship based practice, that the reward is the greatest reward of all…being needed, having practiced with a purpose for so many years. When I look around dentistry today, with the growth of insurance based practices and corporate dentistry I see these rewards diminishing in favor of transactional dental relationships – or strictly functional relationships.

Practicing dentistry with meaning and purpose is one of its greatest rewards. More than money – meaning and purpose will keep the dentist and staffs practicing longer and staying healthier and living longer. Research has shown that meaningful work can add years to your life.

So I come to work everyday and get greeted by my patient-friends who remind me daily how much being their dentist has meant to them, then I go on social media and get reminded how modern dentistry is today. I marvel at our technical advances yet see how much less human we have become. I see dentists flexing their muscles, showing off their beautiful cases but I wonder if they truly understand the longterm value and meaning of the relationships – or is it just about the teeth?

I see cases with no sense of diagnosis and treatment planning. I see cases presented by “financial people” who never get to understand the patients real needs and desires. I see some nice dentistry. I see some lousy dentistry but mostly I see evidence of people not being understood at a level this profession should be doing.

We could do better. Dentistry used to do a lot better. That is why I stayed “old school.” Maybe my patients are also saying something else…not only that they need me but that we truly miss the way dentists used to be…before these modern times.

 

 

 

 

A Voice From the Grave

September 30, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Barry @ 11:49 AM

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It has been two weeks since the second Republican debate was televised to the American public.  I found it ironic that the debate was held at The Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California.  The backdrop for the event was Reagan’s presidential plane, acting as a constant reminder of the deceased ex-president.

America learned many things from the debate…but this blog is about dentistry and life, so I will leave that discussion to those who choose to argue about the political issues.  I want to go beyond the issues to the candidates and how they choose (or don’t choose) to get their message across…because we all have a message to get across, and our success depends on how we do it.

The setting was ironic because Ronald Reagan was a master of leadership and communication.  He was the Great Communicator.

The irony reared its ugly head throughout the evening as many of the candidates acknowledged Reagan’s ability and ranted how our country lacked leadership…and then proceeded to insult each other and carry on as if it were a street fight.

I recalled something someone once told me, “Never argue with a moron, because from a distance, you can’t tell who is the moron.”

The irony was that the issues got lost in their expression.  That is still holding true two weeks later.

How we say something is more important than what we say.

Maybe that is the lesson from the grave.  Communication is the gateway to better leadership.

During the debate I tried to see through the issues and concentrate on how each candidate chose to get their message across.  Who could deny the haughtiness of Trump, the contentiousness of Fiorna, the humility of Carson or the storytelling ability of Rubio?

My own affinities toward or against these styles was irrelevant especially during the debate while my emotions interfered with what was really going on.

All the while Reagan’s image watched over…The Great Communicator.

It has been two weeks since the debate and I find it interesting how the polls have moved.  Trump is trending downward while Carson and Rubio upward.

And Ronald Reagan is smiling from the grave.  Communication will out the real leader…it always does.

Even Jack Kennedy had a communication problem until Bobby, his campaign manager convinced him to school himself on how to relate to the public…how to become “everyman.”

But I digress…this is a dental blog.

Everyday we have our platform.  We have opportunities to impress our public everyday.  Our new patient examination is our platform.  We cannot abuse the platform.

We have abused the platform—some of us are Trump, some Carson, some Fiorina.  Watch these candidates, learn what creates followers and what doesn’t.

Mostly, understand that your message and how you express it will determine your success, and never, never, never abuse your platform.

 

 

 

 

 

The Most Annoying Man in the World

July 13, 2015

Filed under: Business of Dentistry,Self-development,Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Barry @ 12:51 PM

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Yes…that would be me.  Well I used to be a lot worse.  You see I am a devotee of hot Yoga.  I have been practicing at least three days each week for five years and I have reaped the rewards.

I want other people to take advantage of the same health benefits I have enjoyed.  So I push it.  Occasionally someone takes me up on it, but most of the time I hear reasons why they will pass:

“I’m not flexible, I can’t take the heat, Ninety minutes in a hot room, are you kidding?, How much?

I was being nice when I called them “reasons.”  But in reality those reasons are nothing more than excuses.  People don’t like making excuses, so they give you what they think are very legitimate reasons for not doing something.

That’s why I think I could really be annoying.

At the end of the day it’s the people who go to the gym, go to Yoga or participate in any form of physical exercise on a regular basis, that truly value their health.

They have placed positive meaning on their health...and my pushing doesn’t do a thing to change that…hence, I annoy them.

You would think, as a dentist, I would know that.  After all, who listens to more excuses than a dentist?

“My dog is sick.  Something came up.  I just threw up.  My car won’t start.”

Doctors…you’ve heard them all, haven’t you?

Nothing but excuses – or reasons why they can’t make it in.  The real reason?  They haven’t prioritized dentistry.

Does that surprise you…that anyone can’t find the value or meaning in taking care of their teeth?

Oh, do I hear you saying that they have a high fear or they can’t afford it?

Reasons!

At the end of the day they don’t get their teeth fixed.  Now don’t get me wrong I am not hardhearted about these reasons, and I never get angry when I hear them.  Even after a cancellation.

You see, these reasons are just an indication that some good dialogue is necessary.  I used to get upset…even angry…and that’s when I really was the most annoying man in the world.

Our culture loves reasons.  How about the reasons why people don’t want x-rays?  How many have you heard?  Or, forgive me…the amalgam issue…or the one about the hard pretzel breaking their tooth?

We love stretching the correlation implies causation issue don’t we?  It sounds so good…but in the end, just more reasons to believe their particular truth.

I used to argue…to no avail…and be labeled, yes...the most annoying man in the world.

No more!

I don’t used bullshit reasons in my own life…and I don’t get angry when people choose to use reasons to justify their behavior.

Dentistry can get quite emotional.  Destructive emotions like anger, frustration, guilt and inadequacy can truly ruin a good relationship.  People used to avoid me in the supermarket if they missed their last check-up.

No more!

These days I am much more likable.  Much easier to get along with.  And a funny thing happened….

Gandhi was right…he advises to be the change you seek in the world.

And you will attract people who share the same values as you do…people who truly value their health.

Try it…it’s quite calming

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dental Study Club Visits Lancaster

June 29, 2015

Filed under: Happiness,Self-development,Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Barry @ 12:28 PM

 

3 Knots

 

I am a big believer in study clubs.  Our club, the Three Knots Study Club has existed for ten years.  We meet yearly at a different location for educational and social reasons.

In the past few years we have fished the Everglades, explored the coast of Maine and hiked the hills of Asheville North Carolina.  This year one of our members hosted our meeting in Lancaster Pennsylvania…the heart of Amish country.
We certainly got a good look at how the Amish live…this trip was way beyond the typical tourist experience.

I had seen the pretzel factories, eaten enough funnel cake and shoo fly pie and sat behind many buggies in traffic to satisfy my curiosities but actually meeting and spending time with the Amish was a true learning experience.  It was truly a close up view into a culture that stands in direct contrast to the way we live in America today…and even without the modern amenities there’s a lot to learn from these quite progressive people.

Progressive?  Let me explain.  Everything is relative isn’t it?

The one thing that stood out while visiting the Amish farms and observing their family life was a great sense of moral responsibility and empathy for one another.  The lack of modern amenities blended in after a while.

What was really noticeable was the how they worked and related to one another.

Everyone working on the farms were craftsmen.  The animals were well taken care of, as if they were part of the family.  Mostly though what stood out was the care they placed in making sure everyone was taken care of…in the family and the extended family.

Progressive?  Or has the rest of society redefined progress as nothing but more and more material wealth, say as measured by the GDP (Gross Domestic Product).  When does it stop?

Of course the Amish aren’t the only ones who measure success by other standards than material wealth.  In Bhutan the new economic paradigm is Gross Happiness Product which uses natural and social capital values to assess the true costs and gains of economic activity.

I remember first being introduced to the Pankey Philosophy many years ago.  In the center of Dr. Pankey’s Cross of Life was three words…Reward…Material and Spiritual.  Through the years I continued to see our culture lose it’s balance with way too much emphasis on the material…at the total expense of the spiritual (if you have an issue with that word…think ephemeral or intangible—think purpose and gratitude).

As a matter of fact it was through Dr. Pankey’s original philosophy that I heard the term “moral obligation” in relation to dental practice.  It was a driving force in my writing my first book about the examination.

Morality and character are the drivers of a sustainable career in any profession…are we losing it?  Observing the Amish shows that we differ in more ways than air conditioning and electricity.

I am not suggesting anyone give up all material possessions…just to take a step back and realize that as an old movie title said…“The Best Things in Life are Free.”

This weekend we didn’t run the rapids in Montreal, see a Broadway show or ride horses in the Texas hill country…we just ate some really good home cooking and watched another way to live that could hold promise for our future.

 

 

The Human Side of Dentistry

March 1, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Barry @ 11:04 PM

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The University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine back in 1969 had strong leanings toward periodontics.  Our dean D. Walter Cohen, after all, was the co-author of dentistry’s premier text in periodontics, the appropriately named Periodontal Therapy.  Future deans helped the pedigree by emphasizing periodontics.  Included in that group was my commanding officer in the U.S. Army Dental Corps, Dr. Jay Siebert, followed by the renowned Swedish periodontist, Dr. Jan Lindhe.

Yes…saving teeth, no matter what, was the theme of dentistry back in the sixties and seventies.

I remember a funny little fact about Dr. Cohen’s book.  One chapter, written by the popular instructor, Dr. John Derbyshire, was dedicated to the subject of human motivation.  That’s right, human motivation was recognized as a discipline that dentists needed to consider.

The thing I remember most about that chapter was that it was just a few pages long in a book of over 1200 pages.

Things have changed an awful lot in the world of periodontics – but human motivation hasn’t changed much at all.

A few weeks ago I was in a steam room at my gym.  I got into a sticky debate with a psychologist about what the role of today’s health care professionals encompassed.  Amazingly he was firmly attached to the idea of the doctor being a technician.  I tried to convince him of the behavioral component, but he would have none of it.  And he is a psychologist.

I wondered how physicians see their jobs, or how the public views our role?  There is no doubt that the role of health care professionals has changed since 1969…and many still don’t see human motivation as part of that job.

Technology has changed everything in all fields.

Some say the democratization of medicine will enable patients to access all of their records from the cloud, have the ability to take their own tests through apps and sensors (iWatch anyone?), and even have Skype consults with doctors.  This will lower the need for physicians in the future…and the education they presently supply.

Of course, hands on physicians, surgeons, will stay as busy as ever.

But the information will be democratized.  Your smartphone will be the key to your healthcare.

Dentists do more than just provide and interpret information…we are hands on, more like surgeons.  Dentists will not be replaced by smartphones in the future.  Sure technology will rule, but patients will still come in with the same fears and dread they had back in 1969.  This is the human side of dentistry…the same component that helps people to make major changes in their lives like smoking cessation and weight loss, disciplines fraught with objections like fear, money, sense of urgency…that are not life mandated.

There is no app for that. 

The successful dentist of the future will have to be adept in the latest digital technology no doubt.  If you are a Luddite and refuse to get on the train it will cost you…but being adept in human interaction may just be your bigger ticket to success.

If I were writing Periodontal Therapy today I certainly would devote more pages to the chapter on human motivation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who is Your Doctor?

February 11, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — Barry @ 1:28 PM

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Guest Post by Dr. Alan Stern:

 

Health care has hit rock bottom. And, we’re still digging.
I spend several weekends a year treating National Guard soldiers. Not having served in the military (and feeling just a bit guilty over it), I have developed a profound respect for people who volunteer their time and risk their own well being so that the rest of us can live our lives in peace.

I jump at the chance to help these great people, and I work with the same enthusiasm and energy as I do in my office and in other aspects of my life. The work is markedly different than what I do in my office, but the National Guard’s dental mission is true to its values and the work is profoundly appreciated by the soldiers and their commanding officers.

I really enjoy the time I spend and the work I do with our heroes!
One of the standard questions on a soldier’s health history form is familiar. “Have you been under a health care provider’s care in the last two years?”

This is , of course, a very appropriate question, but when a  few soldiers checked off “yes” this past weekend  and wrote down the name of an insurance carrier as the explanation to the affirmative answer, I wanted to scream, cry, bang my head against a wall, and chug a bottle of scotch all at once. As an alternative to all the above, I started writing!

The soldiers I encounter are ordinary people doing extraordinary things. If their mindset towards health care is reflective of our nation’s thinking, then we are in BIG trouble.

The medical community has utterly failed to teach the public that an insurance company and the U.S government are not physicians. They have, in many senses, surrendered their role as care givers and have been relegated to technicians and trades people.  It can be argued that the role of today’s physician is to do as he/she is told, fix what the government or the insurance company orders them to fix at whatever rate of reimbursement the third party chooses, fill out the paperwork with appropriate codes or face criminal charges for failure to do so properly…. and move on to the next patient.

The patient, on the other hand, is expecting first class care while their benefactor, the third party payer, is paying third class reimbursement to the repair person whose title remains doctor. The patient is expecting Marcus Welby, MD to watch over their well being while the doctor is legitimately worried about coding, paperwork, productivity (that is, generating enough money to pay a burgeoning overhead and take a  much reduced salary or justifying his or her pay to the corporation to which they have sold their practices and/or with whom they have entered into employment agreements).

The third party payer is worried about earning more than they are spending (just like all of us, by the way), making sure that their premium dollars reflect a perceived value to the customer, and that their policies fall under government guidelines. Yes, they provide some assistance to their members in obtaining their care from their “providers.” (I despise this word.) And, my own encounters with some customer service representatives have been helpful. But, who is my health care (ugh) provider? Is it the insurance company? Is it the physician? Is it an appointment secretary? Is it a nurse practitioner or a physician’s assistant? And, who is accountable to whom, and for what are they accountable?

A few years ago, I had a discussion with a college professor on this very subject. She made the point that health care is the one area in which the entity that is paying for the service has no vested interest in the outcome, the recipient of the service has no financial accountability to the provider of the service, and the provider (God, do I despise that word) of the service has an obligation to someone other than the recipient of the service. This is, in my young adult kid’s vocabulary: “a train wreck if ever there was one!”

In dentistry we are beginning to see the train wreck approaching. Decades ago, people like Avrom King, L.D. Pankey, and others saw this coming. The dental marketplace would be tiered, they said, dividing it into what was then called welfare care (e.g., Medicaid and other government-provided treatment), insurance care subject to the market forces described above, and private care. Well, that day is here, and no dentist and no patient will be exempt from the struggle.

All patients will need to decide what type of care they want and what price they are willing to pay to do so. And, we dentists will need to decide what type of care we want to provide and what price we are willing to pay to do so. More importantly, for those who choose to pursue the private care model, the need to distance ourselves from the typical medical model AND to provide a service that is worth money, both in perception and in reality, is more critical today than ever.

So, the question I have asked myself and now pose to you is “What will YOU do to provide real care, skill, judgment, and service to those who choose you as their health care PRACTITIONER? Do you wish to play the insurance game? (That’s OK, if you’re OK with it.) Do you wish to provide care to the under-served? (That’s OK, too!) Or, do you wish to go the route less traveled?

The one less traveled is a very risky road with no guarantee of outcome. For some of us, though, it’s the only way, because for some of us, climbing is a better route than digging!

In Search of Dignity

January 26, 2015

Filed under: Ethics,Marketing,Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Barry @ 3:31 PM

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On a recent trip to central Pennsylvania, in order to prevent myself from dozing, I read road signs.  Road signs can really get your attention.  They can be just as creative as some of the better television ads I see these days.

They can be real conversation starters, like those digital WANTED signs that warn us to be careful of criminals on the loose.  And of course those redundant GEICO billboards.  Yes, billboards can be a sign of the times.

That’s why, on my way into Harrisburg I found one sign that really made me laugh.  I guess this is the devolution of what started out as, “If you’ve been hurt in accident…call.” 

This billboard implied the same, but it instructed the viewer to call “LarrytheLawyer.com.”  (Name changed).

LarrytheLawyer.com?  Hmm?

Back in the eighties it became legal for professionals to advertise.  For years professional organizations fought advertising.  Many dentists are aware of “Painless Parker,” a flamboyant street dentist described as “a menace to the dignity of the profession” by the American Dental Association.  “Menace to the dignity of the profession”…in the thirties.  I wonder what the forefathers would say about our dignity now?

Dignity.  What does the word mean?  The dictionary definition tells us it is a sense of pride in oneself; self respect, an honorable rank or position.

Well, I guess it is up to each of us to protect our own dignity.  I certainly wouldn’t do what Larry did and display it all over my hometown for the sake of getting people’s attention.

But who protects the dignity of the profession?  The collective dignity of the profession.  Does anyone have that role?  I know in sports like football and baseball, players must answer to their undignified behavioral issues (sometimes anyway).  Someone is in charge of protecting the public image.  Because it’s important.

For what you ask?

Public trust.

And that’s the big problem with today’s professions.

Today the professions have narrowed and distorted the idea of dignity.  I wonder if advertising had something to do with it?  Maybe there was something to letting the professions police themselves instead ofd giving way to the free market.  After all health care ethics is a bit more complex than selling cars or insurance.

Maybe it doesn’t stop with the health care professions.  Just last week I was watching Barak Obama interviewing Glozell Green at the White House.  Check her out…she has this unbelievable following on YouTube.  I guess he did this for the same reasons Larry the Lawyer takes out billboards…to get the public’s attention through shock value.

Maybe it’s time we all took a deep breath and put some dignity back into our jobs…it wouldn’t hurt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Graduate Goes to Dental School

July 21, 2014

Filed under: Happiness,Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Barry @ 1:22 PM

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I want your help.

I am writing a new book for young dentists.  The book’s theme is creating a long , successful and rewarding life in dentistry.

For some this may be self-evident.  It depends on what stage of career you are in.

For others it is very difficult.  And you don’t have to be a dentist to appreciate the question I am about to ask.  The question actually raises more questions as to where we are today in terms of health care, the economy and our work.

I am biased on the side of long, healthy, happy careers—maybe what used to be called The American Dream.

 

So here is my premise:

I am producing a remake of the classic Dustin Hoffman film, The Graduate.  The scene at the pool where Mr. McGuire tells young Ben, “One word, plastics.”  It’s a classic line.

Now remember, the movie first came out in 1969…times were much different then…and in my movie Ben just graduated from dental school. (If you are a physician…make believe he’s graduating from medical school).

You don’t have to be a health professional to answer…it’s more about our culture.

Here’s where I need your help—

What one piece of advice would you give young Ben as he entered into the workforce, as a dentist in 2014.  By the way—dental school left him with $375,000 in debt.

Be brief—and one caveat —you can’t advise him to stay away from Mrs. Robinson.

Don’t go there!

Leave your comments below—if they are good I will include them in the book and give you credit.

The 7 Triggers of Fascination

July 7, 2014

Filed under: Marketing,Philosophy,Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Barry @ 10:00 AM

Carl Rogers Quote

 

 

I am obsessed with human motivation.  For over forty years I have studied what makes people tick.  For myself it is an exercise in self-development…but in my practice, I believe it is a key to helping people improve.  Now I’m not a psychologist but I’ve done my share of literature review from Maslow to Carl Rogers.

At a recent study club meeting I presented the Art of Case Presentation from my book by the same name.  Afterwards I heard someone say, “You can’t change people.”

Later on I reflected on that statement.  I was bothered by it—more about the attitude behind it than the validity.  Did I really waste forty years of research and study, and over a year in writing a book if that were true?

I will say with all humility.  I am living proof that people can change.  People are capable of changing, and as a dentist I see myself as a change agent.

Change is difficult…I’m sure you know that, but it starts with the subjectivity about change rather than the objective nature of change.  If you say you can…you can.

My discomfort with the declaration caused me to do more reading and reflection.  I am fully convinced that all change starts with the emotional brain.  We must find our own emotional reasons to begin and maintain changes.

There are many books written that discuss the role of mental triggers…things that enter into our minds and get our attention.  One such book, Fascinate by Sally Hogshead (see a review at the end of this post) discusses 7 triggers that communicate ideas, they are:

  1. Lust
  2. Mystique
  3. Alarm
  4. Prestige
  5. Power
  6. Vice
  7. Trust

These 7 triggers instantly reach the emotional brain and provide meaning for the observer.  It’s the meaning that compels us to pay attention and possibly inspire action.

Dentists spend a lot of time trying to appeal to all patients.  Maybe it is true that we can’t change everyone…after all during my career I have seen upwards of 30,000 different patients, but only about 1200 remain active in my practice.

So how well am I doing my job if “changing people” is going to be part of my job description.

One story, reproduced below , that guides my thinking, has really helped me through the years.

 

“STARFISH”

A friend of ours was walking down a deserted Mexican beach at
sunset. As he walked along, he began to see another man in the
distance. As he grew nearer, he noticed that the local native
kept leaning down, picking something up and throwing it out
into the water. Time and again he kept hurling things
out into the ocean.

As our friend approached even closer, he noticed that the man
was picking up starfish that had been washed up on the beach
and, one at time, he was throwing them back into the water.

Our friend was puzzled. He approached the man and said,
“Good evening, friend. I was wondering what you are doing.”

“I’m throwing these starfish back into the ocean. You see,
it’s low tide right now and all of these starfish have been
washed up onto the shore. If I don’t throw them back into the
sea, they’ll die up here from lack of oxygen.”

“I understand,” my friend replied, “but there must be thousands
of starfish on this beach. You can’t possibly get to all of
them. There are simply too many. And don’t you realize this is
probably happening on hundreds of beaches all up and down this
coast. Can’t you see that you can’t possibly make a difference?”

The local native smiled, bent down and picked up yet another
starfish, and as he threw it back into the sea, he replied,
“made a difference to THAT one!”

-By Jack Canfield
and Mark V. Hansen

 I guess that’s how I judge how far I go to change people.  In the end it really comes down to values—shared values.

The shared values creates the political climate in the practice…for me—it’s about the values of TRUST, APPRECIATION AND OWNERSHIP.

Hmmm…I should write a blog about those three words.

 

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A Great Day in Dental Practice

February 19, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Barry @ 1:15 PM

 

stop-and-smell-the-rosesI don’t usually write posts like this one.  Usually I start off with a point I want to make…but today I just wanted to stay in the moment to describe how I feel about a great day in dentistry.

My goal I guess is for you to stop and appreciate what dentistry can do for you…because we don’t usually do that…but at the stage I am at in my career, I can sit back and smell the roses.

Yesterday my hygiene schedule was filled with patients who have been in my practice for over thirty years.

One of them, Tom, travels up from North Carolina three times a year for his maintenance.  He never misses.  Sometimes he flies in and combines the trip with seeing friends and relatives.  Other times he goes on to New York to visit his son.  Obviously Tom is more than a patient…he’s a friend, a member of our family.

I remember when he first came to us.  He was overcome with fear from a lifetime of bad dental experiences.  Slowly, over time we restored him.  He gradually accepted more complex treatment including implants which were fairly new at the time.  Tom’s dentistry has held up…because of his care and appreciation.  That’s what makes me feel good.

My next patient was a woman I restored fifteen years ago.  Same story.  Although she lives a lot closer, she never misses her hygiene appointments.  On random occasions she stops in and brings us wine or fruit platters.

She speaks very little English…but we communicate.  I commented to her how beautiful her smile has remained and that the dentistry appeared as if I had placed it yesterday.  Even I was amazed how well she took care of it.

Upon leaving, she stood up and gave me a hug just uttering the words, “Good Doctor, beautiful work.”  At that point I was consumed by what this profession can bring…pure joy.

I am fond of using a quote:  “One thousand compliment + 1 insult = 1 insult”

Knowing that…many times during a day or week when that one bad patient comes in, I still carry that patient home with me.  I am human, after all.

But on this day I enjoyed one of those moments when I know why I practice dentistry.

 

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