November was a fabulous first month at Jones Family Dental and I am having a great time getting to know numerous wonderful people. Fortunately and gratefully I am finding the patients I’ve met are quite receptive and appreciative of our approach to dental care. My philosophy centers around patient wellness and education as opposed to emergency based transactions to put out fires. This means that we are developing long term relationships in which the doctor-patient rapport becomes one of friendship and trust. This inspires wellness and excellence; in myself, my staff and our amazing patients. In my evaluation of patient needs I have found a couple of major barriers to this model. The three greatest obstacles to achieving active dental wellness are education, time, and money.
I grew up in a blue collar, single parent home; my mother experienced these very same barriers. Due to our financial situation we struggled to find the care we needed, both medical and dental. I will never forget the stress and concern that my mom demonstrated when I got sick or needed emergency care. For our health needs we had good ol’ Doc Stroker. Dr. Stroker was an aged man, who from the perspective of my adolescent eyes seemed to be at least 120 years old. In retrospect he was probably in his mid-seventies. Ironically Doc Stroker had indeed had a stroke, smoked a cigar constantly (even while doing your school sports physical), drooled, and worked by himself. He charged $25 for every visit and although his care was quite limited and certainly not the highest quality, we were left with few other options. For dental care my mom resorted to sending me to brush my teeth whenever something “inappropriate” was on the television. Fortunately for my teeth, my mom loved shows like Dynasty, Dallas, Falcon Crest, General Hospital, All My Children, and Knot’s Landing. I was brushing about ten times a day! These experiences make me especially sensitive to the barriers of care that exist today.
When I set out to be a health care provider I determined that I would honor the sacrifices of the numerous extended family members who helped me and my mother through many rough times by first being a truly exceptional provider and second remembering my very humble beginnings.
Time, education, money: My goal is to remove as many of these barriers as I can. For those who have a hectic work schedule, we have extended our hours and even offer some Saturday appointments to remove the scheduling challenge. Money can be the largest obstacle to ideal care; it definitely is the barrier that causes the most stress. Many individuals feel that bargain hunting for dentistry is necessary in order to afford dental care. Most people who do bargain shop recognize that they may be sacrificing high quality care. You don’t have to sacrifice high quality care in order to afford quality dentistry. In order to help with the financial aspect of dental care and allow patients to choose the best treatment for them, we have developed flexible payment options for ALL patients. Last but certainly not least we strive to educate our patients at every appointment whether we are doing a simple filling or developing a complicated cosmetic treatment plan. We believe that when we take the time to invest in education we gain a partner in wellness and will ultimately achieve a greater impact on the lives of those we serve. Again, I wish to thank all the wonderful patients that I’ve met over the last couple of months and look forward to meeting many more in this coming year. Best wishes and Happy New Year.