Caring about People

“When we care about people we care less about money.
When we care about money we care less about people.”
Margaret Heffernan in Willful Blindness

In dentistry where the balance between business (money) and practice (people) is precarious, what are we collectively doing to ensure that the balance stays in favour of the patient so that people don’t become commodities with a price tag attached?

Perhaps simply remembering that we are human before dentist is a good place to begin. Beyond materials, techniques and clinical procedures, there is our humanity hard-wired for true connection with others. When we remember this, we can embrace more gracefully the responsibilities that come with being dentists.

We may have felt victimized by CBC’s Marketplace. The program on dental practices aired on October 19, 2012 focused almost exclusively on dentists oriented towards treatment prescriptions, some purely cosmetic. In the display of selling services, the caring nature of a patient – doctor relationship went missing.

We must remember one thing: we are not the victims of Market place. Rather, we are the co-creators of a reality that was only brought to light by the media while we operate on a daily basis within a system designed precisely to get the results it gets…

We can see the darkness depicted in Marketplace as a unique and terminal case of failure of a minority or as an opportunity to begin together a journey towards the discovery of the true nature of a dentist’s work.

What can we do to serve our patients better? What can we do to fulfill their expectations with regards to Trust and Value? How can we create a laboratory of collective learning?

These are questions Shaping the Future of Dentistry wishes to address with all who care about the continued success of our profession.

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