Different Kinds of Dentistry
Could you help? I'd appreciate having your opinions and insights. (Please comment below, or email me at DrSandlin@SandlinSmiles.com.)
A short survey:
When you compare us with other dental offices, what's different?
Why do you come to see us, rather than anyone else?
What was the first thing you noticed when you entered our practice?
When someone else has a dental concern, what do you tell them about our office?
These questions have rattled around my head all week. A trip to the Center got me thinking about how we're different, and why we're different from other offices. If you could give me feedback, it'd help resolve my questions and concerns. Thanks in advance.
Form and Function
A lot has been said about shaping things for a purpose. You don't race the Indy 500 in a dump truck. You don't drive to a five star restaurant expecting a drive-thru window. Consider that dental offices are that way. All share a function (dump truck/race car - transportation; restaurants - food, dental offices - teeth, gums, and jaws), but how they function leads to different outcomes. Some practices are designed to react to disease. I've tried to create a practice that supports health. Let me explain.
I started my practice, fresh out of Emory, thinking that everyone wanted to be healthy (free from disease). I soon realized that most come to my office because they wanted to be free of a disease. There is a difference, though it's subtle. Health is the absence of breakdown. You have it by preventing deterioration. Our Medical Model is essentially Disease Care as it repairs deterioration already caused by disease.
It's also a fine line. With the Medical Model being what it is, it's rare for someone not to expect a relationship other than "Dr tells Patient bad news." Instead of helping someone become the strongest they can be, it's assumed that I all I do is repair damaged body parts.
When you enter a practice also differs according to your mindset. Depending on your previous dental experience (health-care vs disease-care), you might be at our door because:
You're feeling guilty - mom always told you to visit the dentist twice a year and you're overdue. Hope she doesn't find out!
You let me "do" things to you because, "He's the expert and he must know what's right."
You're afraid of pain more than you're afraid of me.
You're in pain and are willing to do anything to get rid of it.
You're feeling something different and you're afraid it's going to turn into pain.
You want something that only a trained professional can give you - cosmetic dentistry to improve your appearance.
(If that sounds cynical, I'm not griping. 95% of all dental offices operate on the disease-care model, and it can be very profitable. I practiced this way for almost 20 years, but found it impersonal and self-defeating. When all you do is treat damage caused by disease, it never goes away!)
Why am I saying all of this? I want my patients to experience something different. I want them to be healthy instead of not-yet-needing-treatment. I want to create health crazed dental missionaries who share their success with anyone who'll listen. I want to be a part of the reason your life will be better tomorrow than it is today. I want you to be whole.
50% of your health is related to personal choices. Only 10% is due to the availability and quality of your disease treatment (mislabeled as healthcare.) Let us help you choose to be healthy. Let us help you choose to be whole.
Now you know. Our office is designed to do things differently, and to do things you don't find in other offices. I realize that, at times, this can be frustrating. Some folks are so used to negotiating the Medical Model, that our way of practicing makes no sense. Please remember that we're working for a different outcome. Health vs Disease Recovery.
We try to educate and support. Ultimately, our goal is to put the decisions and responsibility for your health where they do the most good, with you. Only you can decide to be healthy. We'll work with you as you recover from pre-existing disease, and then we'll partner with you as you maintain your long term health.
That's the relationship I want to have, whole, healthy, and empowering.
Dr Sandlin |Sandlin DDS Lawrenceville, Ga