Man, I could have done that better! I know, not exactly the words you want to hear coming from your dentist, right? But the reality is, I say that to myself at least once a year. Being a practicing dentist for 10 years now has only made me more frustrated since the technology is ever changing. What I do today will never be as good as what I will be able to accomplish 10 years from now. How do I know? Here’s the easy answer.
When I was in dental school and bleaching was being introduced to us, we were told you make a tray custom fitted to the patient and you give the patient material that they will sleep in over night. The material at the time- 10% bleach by today’s standards is a joke. Being an overnight bleacher myself at the time, that tray would be thrown across the room somewhere around 2am. Ten years later we now have 35% bleach (or greater) where we give our patients instructions to wear for 15 minutes a pop. This doesn’t even take into account 1 hour bleaching- an entirely different conversation in the bleaching world all together.
Another example: My mom had her first implant 12 years ago. At the time it was state of the art, and the latest and greatest in titanium technology. It was made by the #1 implant company in the world. The very same company in present day can make a smaller, stronger implant that can create less tissue recession than the one my mom had 3 presidential terms ago.
So I lose sleep at night. I really do, even with my 200 hours a year of continuing education, trying to figure out how to excel for the benefit of my patients. Furthermore, I think about how I can do and be better daily. Do I have the right office team? Are we where we should be from a technological standpoint? What can I do to simply make my office better than how we did yesterday? The answer as simple as it may sound will always boil down to the relationship and patient care experience.
Everything we do in the office is based on love. Yes, really! The combination of experience, skill, education and especially care equals love. The continuing education, the small advances in technology that you may not always see (but they are there!) are all present based on the genuine concern for thy neighbor, or in this case- patient.
The reality is that the same bonding materials for fillings and even the same filling materials I use today, more than likely will not be used in 2-3 years from now. It’s not because we run a shady practice. Nay nay! Rather, we are constantly striving to do better for our patients. Being better means constantly being on the hub of dental technological advances and changing things to be focused in the right direction
My staff and I do a lot of continuing education. With the different roles we all play in the office, we tend to vary in which classes we all go to, but we do go. As you come into our office, or any dental office for that matter, please keep in mind what you want to see as the end result of your teeth, but also are you sure you are getting the best care with the best materials? Is your office up to date? As a patient, long term or just a one time visit, this is your office also. You are not just going to the dentist, but you are going to someone who is about to drill in your mouth. Ask questions. It’s ok. Be informed, be concerned, be aware. All dentists are NOT created equal, and you as a patient deserves the best.