Are all dentists created equal? Since every dentist has the same basic qualifications, you might think they all provide the same level of care and professionalism. However, this isn’t the case, since there’s a lot more to dentistry than just knowing about procedures and tools. In fact, a dentist’s provision of care can be affected by their personality as much as their actual dental skills.
Ability to reassure
Let’s admit it: going to the dentist can be a scary experience, especially when you have to go for an invasive procedure. There’s the needles and drills involved, as well as the obvious concern about the pain these tools might cause. But a great dentist is able to assuage these fears and make patients feel at ease by being empathetic, and by being attuned to patient concerns. Therefore, a sympathetic dentists can make patients feel comfortable and reduce their fear of being sat in the dreaded dentist chair. What’s more, a competent and experienced dentist can reassure patients and instil confidence with their proficiency and skills.
Oral hygiene has improved tremendously over the last few decades, causing the role of dentists to shift from performing procedures to providing patients with advice on how to take good care of their teeth. Because of this, good dentists nowadays also need to be effective teachers, able to explain to patients in layman’s terms about how to floss and brush teeth properly. This role of education also extends to dental procedures, because by carefully explaining procedures to patients, dentists can reassure and inform patients about the safety of the procedure. Therefore, dentists not only need a thorough knowledge of procedures, but also the ability to communicate these procedures to patients, who may have very little prior knowledge.
Another requirement for a good dentist is people skills, because by being amiable and easy to talk to, dentists can help patients feel comfortable and ready for procedures. Therefore, a good dentist has excellent people skills and knows that every patient is unique. After all, a dentist’s role is to interact all day long with people of all ages and demographics, so a good dentist should be able to get along with just about anyone.
Of course, there are also technical requirements to being a dentist. Dentists learn many of these skills during dental school, but there are also certain skills which education can’t teach. One of these is manual dexterity, which is very important because a dentist’s work involves working with precision instruments inside a small space, where a slight slip of the hand could cause an accident and injure the patient.
Enjoyment of work
Finally, as with any profession, a good dentist enjoys their work, and this will show in both their work and their enthusiasm when dealing with patients. Passionate dentists have an excitement for all things teeth-related, and keep up with the latest developments in dentistry by reading trade journals. Last but not least, good dentists also enjoy helping people, which is, after all, the essence of the dentist role.
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