I’ve been thinking lately about how being a dentist and being a father are both practices of caring. I wouldn’t go so far as to suggest I love my patients the way I love my children, but I do think similar skills are required to foster positive relationships throughout our lives, and my practice as a dentist is no different in that respect.
Trust and communication are the foundation of successful relationships. With my children there is a great deal of time for establishing this trust, but with my patients a more concerted effort is required up front. While it is important for me to explain procedures clearly and lay out all the patient’s options, it is at least as important to listen, to ask the right questions, and to remember each patient is a unique person with unique needs. This may seem like a lot to deliver, while also insuring top-quality, efficient care that is sure to invest in that patient’s long-term well being, but listening and getting to know my patients is actually one of the most rewarding aspects of what I do.
Also, I think both being a dentist and being a father involve negotiating discomfort, and calming anxiety. Going to the dentist no longer requires the levels of discomfort it once did, and most often there is no pain involved, but this doesn’t mean I can assume the patient no longer has anxiety developed from the time when topical anesthetics were less developed, or from uncomfortable experiences with other dentists. In a holistic and supportive dental practice, patients leave the office feeling good about the experience, free of any discomfort, and free of any anxiety they may have previously associated with being at the dentist.
Dental health, like overall health, is about making continuous, positive changes in your life. Trips to the dentist should feel positive. It should feel good to invest in your long-term health. And it feels good contributing to the long-term health of so many good people.
Paul L. Caputo, DDS3490 E Lake Rd S Suite A