Simon Sinek, author of Start with WHY, states that when we are surrounded by people who believe what we believe, trust emerges. An interesting statement for dentistry where there is a known gap in the perception of trust and value between us and the general public. This then brings a question: What in our belief system is standing in the way of trust in dentistry?

From a patient’s point of view,trust is a feeling that operates at the level of the perceived quality of the services they pay for: this may be punctuality, empathy, gentleness, absence of pain, essentially, things that have little to do with the precision of the margins on our crowns and fillings. On the other hand, that very precision is also important. Recurring decay and failing fillings do little to build trust.

How do we communicate who we are individually and collectively as dentists? As justified providers of expensive, labour intensive, time consuming, high quality fillings? Or as health care providers, specialized in oral health, in service of something much bigger than teeth? The authenticity of our claims is at the source of trust. What do we really stand for and how can we serve the human race better are questions we need to answer now.

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