Many patients ask me, “Do I need a _______ (filling, crown, root canal, etc.)?” I could jump on the opportunity to make a sale and tell them, “Yes, absolutely!” But I have found that I prefer to educate people and let them make a decision that makes sense for them.
I start by helping my patients understand that teeth are not necessary. There are millions of people with no teeth at all. And they live good lives. Once people understand that teeth are optional, we can talk about priorities, preferences – what they want and desire for their dental health. I ask lots of questions so I can learn about what people value and what their goals are.
After an examination, I share what my findings are. If everything looks great, we celebrate! If there are concerns, we talk about those and shape a treatment plan based on the individual’s goal, wants and desires. Once a patient has decided what type of solution they would like, we work to help them fit it into their budget.
I often tell my patients that I am not a very good salesman. My preference is to educate rather than sell. People make decisions that work for them and we have the tremendous privilege and responsibility of helping them achieve their goals. I am grateful for the trust people place in me and strive every day to be worthy of that trust. Thank you!
In April I traveled to listen to Nicholas Caplanis, DMD, MS (www.drcaplanis.com ). Dr. Caplanis is a periodontist in Southern California and the current president of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry. I spent 8 hours listening to him talk about regenerative potential, bone grafting, and complications with the surgical phases of implant dentistry. It has been said that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. He was able to simplify challenging concepts and I enjoyed an unprecedented learning experience.
Many of you have been congratulating us for our work with the 2012 Oregon Mission of Mercy. I remember seeing several of our patients volunteering at that event. This year, the Mission will be back in Portland (www.oregondental.org ). The Oregon Dental Association is actively seeking both clinical and non-clinical volunteers. If you’re interested in being part of an incredible event that will help you appreciate life even more, please look into the 2013 Oregon Mission of Mercy.