RESTORING GOOD FAITH IN DENTISTRY
By Dr. Oscar Marin
For me dentistry is never been just about fixing someone’s teeth. Of course, I enjoy the immediate gratification of giving my patients the ability to chew and smile confidently, but to me it is very clear that I’m looking to create a deeper connection with my patients as individuals, parents, employees, business owners, retirees, etc.
I enjoy more than anything to hear their stories and the circumstances that led to the current state of their dental health. On a daily basis I hear different stories about why someone decided not to trust or to be afraid of the dentist and every time I think I’ve heard the worst, I’m surprised by a new, even more chaotic account. It is no wonder so many people have poor associations with the dentist. One of the most common complains I hear is that the dentist continues to work despite the patient not being completely numb. Some patients complain of discomfort and they are ignored, dismissed and even told not to be a “baby” (this last one actually happened to one of my most apprehensive patients). I have even been told of dentists that hit their patients and the patient just sat there and said nothing because they just thought that is the way dentists behaved. No wonder people end up hating the dentist.
This is why a large part of my consult isn’t necessarily solving clinical dental problems but restoring faith in dentistry and reassuring patients that there’s quite a few of us who are genuinely interested in helping and caring about the person. It is unfortunate that there are so many examples of poor dental experiences to choose from, but this has fueled my passion to create a practice where we can generate a positive experience for our patients from an early age. Starting with our youngest patients, we have established the tooth fairy phone calls program, where kids within a certain age range get a call from the tooth fairy whenever they come to the office, lose a baby tooth or even just to encourage them to do a better job with their home care. For our more skeptical patients or those with traumatic past experiences, we can schedule an office tour where they can stop by and get acquainted with our wonderful staff, the doctor and get some of their questions answered in a non-threatening environment before they even decide to become a patient with us. From beginning to end, the patient has all the control, they can even decide to get a second opinion in-house with one of our experienced providers and whether they choose to stay with us or not, we guarantee that they will come out with all the information they need to make an educated decision about their health.
We’re continuously working to become a greater contribution to our patients beyond what we can do for them in the dental chair. Yes, we treat cavities and gum problems like other dentists, but I take my role as a trusted healthcare advisor very seriously. We look at all the factors that may be having a negative impact in the patient’s wellbeing and help them find ways to improve that. On an average day we discuss anything from stress management to the importance of an active social life”.
There’s no real help unless you evaluate all the factors that play a role in the patient’s health like airway, diet, sleep habits, medications etc. It’s easy to put a crown on a broken tooth, but the broken tooth is just the result of a set of circumstances that led to breakdown.
Our patient community has been critical in helping others overcome the fear to the dental visit. Whether it is your spouse or a coworker, you can also help encourage someone who has a history of poor dental experiences. Our doctors are available for a quick conversation over-the-phone, by email, text or in person.