In this dental blog… Dr Darryl Marsh looks at what exactly it is that stops people taking control over their dental health and the 9 questions they need to satisfy before they can move ahead.
It seems that the time everyone will be in the best position to attend to their own health is always “right around the corner”.
The 9 questions you need to answer in order to commit to your own dental health
Many people have personal circumstances which act as a barrier to them receiving the dental care they need. They may have young children and raising them is taking up all of their resources. Or they maybe in their 50s and 60s and tell us that they feel sandwiched between the conflicting demands of teenage or “grown” children and aging parents. It seems that the time everyone will be in the best position to attend to their own health is always “right around the corner”.
In both cases, people put others interests first when making a decision. Always keeping family and friends desires on the radar, they are focused on providing the best solution to those near and dear to them. All too often with such a strong focus on what is best for their family, they neglect themselves. Whilst circumstances can certainly be a barrier to many people with serious dental problems attaining good dental health, knowing who you can trust is usually at the top of the list.
What are you looking for in a dentist?
Many patients tell us they need a dentist who will not only provide the type of dental treatment that they want, but also someone who you feel will keep you safe. I believe you need to find a dentist where you feel listened to and respected. Where you feel the dentist is trustworthy and has your best interests at heart. And where whatever the procedure or fees, you feel that you will receive good value for your money. After all you’ve earned at least that.
I have found that there are nine important questions that a patient needs to satisfy before they commit to any dental treatment. If all of these can be answered to your satisfaction then you can be confident that you’re in the right place.
Question # 1: Is this person for real?
Are they authentic or does it seem like they are pretending to be something they are not? With the ever-increasing complexity of modern medical and dental treatments there is ever increasing amounts of knowledge that healthcare practitioners must have. There are an ever-increasing number of dental procedures and techniques that must be mastered. For many dentists, myself included, the time and commitment and cost involved in researching and purchasing the equipment and in becoming expert in ALL of the modern dental treatments becomes simply ‘too much’.
In fact simply the cost of ‘tooling up’ to be able to perform every dental procedure to the same level as a specialist in that field, let alone the time and expense in acquiring the training, would be enough to send most dentists broke!
This creates a real dilemma for dentists: to (1) attempt to attain the best possible quality outcome for your patient with inadequate or out dated equipment, or (2) to reduce the scope of treatments that you perform yourself, and refer patients who require treatments that you do not perform to the highest level to an appropriate specialist in this area.
A dentist who only does what they are really good at
In my opinion, to try to achieve the same results as someone who has spent 2-3 years honing their skills in one particular facet of dentistry, whether it is complex root canals, or impacted wisdom teeth means that for all but the most gifted general practitioner would not be close to matching those of the specialist.
That is why in our practice we do not try to be a ‘Jack of all trades’ for our patients. I know that I am not that exceptionally gifted one in a million dentist who can do every dental procedure to the level that the best dentist in that specific field can perform. I’m just not that good. In our practice I do not try to be a ‘Jack of all trades’ because this will lead me to being a master of none.
We only do the procedures that we do really well and refer our patients who need other specialist procedures to the people who are the best in those fields. And by the best we mean not only technically excellent, but gentle, caring and great communicators as well. These are all the things we expect of ourselves.
Join me next time to find out the second question a patient needs to satisfy before they commit to any dental treatment.