We all know that going to the dentist can be a scary and stressful experience especially if you haven’t been in a while. There’s a popular social and professional stigma that dentists somehow enjoy pain or awkwardness, that the whole field is a little bit strange and unusual. Of course, this is utterly ridiculous. It’s just not true at all. For all the nonsensical and foolish horror stories, dentists are kind and decent people who do their best to help the community. In fact, dentistry, whether it’s a childrens dentist, oral surgeons in general, a cosmetic dentist or any other type of dentist, is carefully crafted to take care of the patient and ensure a maximum amount of care. What follows are a few qualities that are important in any dentist and which dentistry schools try to instill in their students.
Of course, whether it’s installing invisalign braces or just doing a routine checkup, one of the most important qualities for a dentist to possess, and indeed any doctor to possess, is compassion. The dentist has to respond to a patient’s suffering in the right way and want to do the maximum amount of good while doing the least amount of harm. This might sound like an abstract quality and one that wouldn’t be too relevant to the concept of professionalism but that’s not exactly true. For all the knowledge a dentist might possess, it’s going to be useless if he or she can’t use that knowledge to respond to the specific needs of the patient. This idea applies differently to different kinds of dentists as well. Let’s take a closer look.
The cosmetic dentist
The cosmetic dentist, at first glance, might seem more inclined to pursue a shallow and visible venture than real, important work. Not so. Not so at all, in fact. Patients who visit the cosmetic dentist are often looking to have humiliating, embarrassing or even physically painful problems fixed. Cosmetic in this case doesn’t mean just to make someone look better. It means to give someone their peace of mind back in regards to something about their body that they aren’t happy with. Fixing a quality that they perceive as negative. This stress is very real and can very painful. A cosmetic dentist has to respond to that pain, to understand where it’s coming from. After they do this, only after they have thoroughly and successfully done this, can they do the work necessary to make their patient’s problem any better. It has to start with that first step.
In a slightly more straight line and inward field of dentistry, oral surgeons also have to follow through on compassion to be successful. This does not mean they have to cater to the patient’s whims, of course. Compassion can be as tough as nails, sometimes and it can often be difficult in any number of ways. For instance, the oral surgeon might need to have a difficult conversation with their patient about the options open regarding a complicated surgery. But, in this case, the compassion stems from wanting to give the patient the best options they have and giving the advice for which one will be the most successful. Even if they might not like the dentist’s advice. Following through on hard decisions is every bit as compassionate as being kind and considerate of whoever comes into your office.
Patience is just as important for the dentist as it is for the patient herself, pun intended. A cosmetic dentist is going to need to be patient with the patient who is still exploring all her options. An oral surgeon is going to have to act fast to operate but is going to have to be patient in explaining the intricacies and procedures that the surgery is going to require. These are slightly different types of patience but every single facet of every kind of patience is important. Too often, those who are knowledgeable in a certain area get impatient with those who need to learn. A dentist must know this, always.