In over 30 years of dentistry, I have seen many labels used by dentists to describe themselves and the same labels used by the public to describe dentists. Both parties tend to toss around these terms and the end result is often confusion. Patients often look for buzz words that resonate with them in seeking treatment. It could work, but more often than not they leave disappointed. The reason is “words don’t count.”
Having some wonderful mentors over the years, some going back to childhood, I learned early on that what you do has to be a reflection of who you are. It’s the philosophy that’s important, as this drives the whole machine. Practicing your philosophy is not catchy; it’s not Madison Avenue, not sexy, and not hype. But personally I have found it’s a reflection of my own journey, my own thought processes, and my own experiences as a patient, and as a practitioner. It’s my own blend of the science of medicine and dentistry, technology, philosophy of patient care, along with the understanding that there is a spiritual and energetic component to healing. A mentor of mine once told me that the wine in the bottle can’t see the words on the label, so it better be sure of what it is.
Helping patients achieve better health, taking care of their concerns, getting them out of pain, restoring function, and enhancing aesthetics is not about a piece of technology or a piece of equipment. While those can be important during the implementation of treatment, that is not what drives the whole process. Holding a scalpel does not make you a surgeon; just like using a spatula does not make you a chef. It’s the philosophy, skill, knowledge, and judgment of the person who uses them.