If you ask a dentist how his relationships are with his patients he will most likely respond that they are great, a major contributing factor to the success of his practice. If you start asking whether or not he offers his patients’ treatment options when faced with a dental health issue, he may give pause, as the answer is often times no.
As professionals we are accustomed to deciding what treatment option we believe is the best solution for our patients, presenting that treatment plan, and delivering the care. It never occurs to us to present the patient with the various options, including the benefits and risks, upside and downside, cost benefits, and long term and short term approaches. However, when we involve our patients and make them true partners in their dental care we not only allow them to gain control, but forge a new level of trust in the doctor/patient relationship.
When we show our patients we trust, respect and need their input to decide the best course of action, we earn that same trust and respect back from them. We have been truly grateful for the collaboration and insight from our patients and have learned much along the way from each. It has been eye opening to learn what motivates our patients in their decision making, and what type of treatment they decide is the best option. We have also been able to advise at the best possible level once we understand what is driving their decision, and what factors are impacting their final course of action. We believe this approach has allowed us to build better, deeper relationships with our patients, built on the foundation of trust and respect. We believe our patients now take more responsibility in their dental health as a result of being an informed, contributing partner in their treatment and dental health goals. In closing, we know that including our patients in their treatment decisions has made for a much more rewarding and fulfilling career.
“Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly and they will show themselves great.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson