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Appreciate your Dentist; Be Nice!

Greetings from your friendly Southern Indiana Endodontist on a gloriously hot and steamy late August Saturday afternoon! Sitting here in the shade by the pool enjoying this amazing day and taking time to reflect on the week that has just gone by. Thought I’d send a big shout out of appreciation to all of my wonderful referring dentists and let them know how appreciative that I am to work with them all on a daily basis! My endodontic office is truly blessed to be able to work with such outstanding people all the time! To our referring doctors…”YOU ARE THE BEST!!"

The purpose of this article is not primarily intended for me to pat the backs of my referring doctors, rather a call out to all dental patients out there…which means pretty much ALL PEOPLE! I would just like to take a minute to remind everyone that your dentists are truly special people and always have (or should have) your best interests at heart. The services that they and their dental teams provide to you can’t be purchased at the local pharmacy or Walmart. They spent an average of 8-10 years of their young adult lives learning the “art” of dentistry and often times had to go into massive debt to pay for their education. One of the first things they are taught in dental school is the Latin phrase, “Primum non nocere”, which means “First do no harm” in English. They were taught to practice two things when dealing with dental disease:  either help or do not harm the patient. Most ALL dentists practice by the Golden rule of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." I mention all of this to remind you that your dentist is a very WELL MEANING AND THOUGHTFUL PERSON and only wants what’s best for you and your SMILE.

That being said, the actual PRACTICE of dentistry is SOOOO challenging! I have been a solo private endodontic practitioner now for 19 YEARS!!! I truly cannot believe it! I have seen many, many patients with various levels of dental problems over those years, but I only treat diseased pulp tissue inside the teeth…hence the term “ENDO”dontist." This is only one specialty of dentistry. I specialize in performing ROOT CANAL therapy which is an effort to eliminate pain and remove infection from the teeth. The specialty of endodontics requires two additional years of training AFTER the FOUR YEARS OF DENTAL SCHOOL. I can honestly say that, from an endodontic standpoint, no two teeth are alike! And root canal treatment is highly intricate and precise! It’s NOT easy. This is not to mention the challenges and difficulties of ALL of the other procedures in dentistry that your general dentist is responsible for! Your dentist is LIKE A SUPERHERO FOR YOUR MOUTH!!! From cleaning your teeth, to fixing your decay, to restoring your broken and cracked teeth to replacing your teeth with implants, partials or dentures…your dentist has his/her work cut out for them!!! So be nice to them!

Now, I understand that most people would rather do just about anything than go to see their dentist for a tooth problem. I get it. I’ve heard it all! Like, “I’d rather be anywhere than here," or, “can’t you just knock me out and do the work?" My favorite quote, “I’d rather go through labor than have my tooth worked on."  I truly don’t hear that type of language often, and most people aren’t that rude, but it still comes around on occasion. When I get those kinds of comments, I just let them roll off my back and assure the patient that I will do my best to keep them comfortable during the procedure. More than likely they will leave the office with a different idea about having a root canal than what they’ve been dreading for three weeks!

If you have a tendency to get a little carried away by dental anxiety and overreact to every little sound or action made by your dentist, realize that it might just be making your dentist’s job ten times more difficult than it already is! Just try to relax. Click here for some suggestions on staying calm at your dentist appointment. Take a few deep breaths. Whining, huffing and puffing during your treatment, whether it’s a hygiene appointment or root canal, will not make you feel any better and it only makes your provider want to rush through the procedure and possibly not be able to do as good of a job.

I often compare DENTISTS to AUTO MECHANICS. We both have to listen to our “patients:" we both have to diagnose what is wrong with our “patients:" we both then have to look under the “HOOD" in order to do the work; then we try our best to resolve the issue and make things better. However, can you imagine if your Mechanic had to fix your car in a wet swamp? Or if your car moved around a whole bunch when the mechanic tried to do his work? Or if your car kept CLOSING IT’S HOOD every time he tried to take a look? And worse yet is if your mechanic had to listen to your car moan and complain during the whole visit? Can you imagine that??? If you’ve seen “MAMA GOTTA ROOT CANAL” you have heard my favorite line of “HOW can you expect ME to FIX your tooth if YOU CAN’T OPEN YOUR MOUTH?!?!?!”

So, on a deeper note, I will bring up a very sad fact. Many dentists have found that, over time, they have become quite jaded to the practice of dentistry. Some find that they physically can’t take the daily grind. Some discover that they’ve lost that original passion and desire they once had to help people with their teeth. Some begin to wonder ‘why in the world’ they became a dentist in the first place? Some dentists even carry out the act of committing suicide because they feel such despair. A dental  group on a social media platform I follow just mentioned this week that a dentist recently took her life. Upon reviewing professions with the highest rate of suicide from several different sources, Dentistry ranks near the top. Now, we all know that there must be hundreds of different factors that would cause someone to take his/her own life, but I just would like to remind everyone that your dentist is a loving, caring person just like you and if you are friendly and courteous to them maybe you can help them continue to be in love with their chosen profession!

Don’t forget also, that, YOU can help YOURSELF!!! BRUSH a few times a day and FLOSS at least once!!! If you have the responsibility of taking care of young children, please teach them the good habit of oral hygiene! Prevention can go a long way in helping you avoid long hours in the dental chair!!!

Just remember to schedule your check-up and cleanings twice a year, brush and floss, and BE NICE TO YOUR DENTIST…AND THEY WILL BE NICE TO YOU!!!

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