Friday, June 03, 2011

It's dentistry that patients hate, not the dentist

‘I HATE dentists . . . no offence but I hate dentists.” “I hate being here.” “If I never see this place again, it’ll be too soon.”
Believe it or not, these lines occur more frequently than you’d imagine in the dental surgery. I can almost see a few heads nodding as you read them.
Some years back, I employed a new dental nurse. She had never worked in a surgery. When she heard a new patient to the practice say, “I hate dentists”, she was gob-smacked (pun intended), so I suggested she record how many times she heard the line. In her first month, she logged 25 times. I hadn’t even noticed one of them.
On starting practice as a new dental graduate, your head is filled with patient care, treatment planning, the fundamentals of restorative dentistry and the myriad of other clinical concerns which face you daily. For you, it’s your job. But for your patient, it’s often a leap of faith.
Why do patients feel this way? With my own patients, I often suggest that they may hate (though I prefer the word dislike) dentistry rather than dentists.

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