On my first day as a dental student, these were the 3 things I was told to master for the rest of my practicing carrier as a dentist. It didn't really matter if I became a general dentist, a tutor, or a specialist, these were the 3 words that I had to obey to make me a great dentist. Listen, Look and Learn.
To listen first, was to ask the right questions, so that you, the client, could say in your own words what the problem is. Sometimes, not asking questions (or listening) and going straight into the 'LOOK'ing can make the appointment longer. So don't get too annoyed when we spend time asking relevant questions, before looking in the mouth.
Obviously, a thorough examination of the problem area is very important. But be aware that just looking at the area may not be enough. An examination of the problem can include:
- a visual examination
- palpation (applying pressure, tapping)
- measurements (probing)
- imaging (Pictures, X-rays, scans)
Sometimes, some of these examinations may seem confusing, or unnecessary. So, always feel ask your dentist any question you might have about what or why we are doing it.
When all the information is gathered after the Listening and Looking, a decision is made to treat the condition. However, this may not always be taking out the drill, or the tooth. It may be to:
- wait and see
- treat the tooth, or
A good dentist is one who knows his limits. This is definitely better than a dentist who thinks he is right in everything, and goes 'gung-ho' in all things. So if your dentist says he goes on a course, has a mentor, or refers you to someone, it does not mean he can't be trusted. He just knows he can't do everything, and is doing it for your safety!
I couldn't find another 'L' word for this. The other very important thing to look out for is the dentist who is open, and spends the time to discuss and explain:
- their findings
- your options
- investment for the treatment you have decided on
- and most importantly, any questions you have
At Aperture Dental, we have a dedicated DISCUSSION ROOM, which a lot of our clients have benefited from. Away from the dental chair and loud noises, it is an area where we spend time answering questions about your dental treatment, and teaching you about the health of your teeth.
So come on over and experience a different type of consultation from what you may have been use to!