After seeing many patients at the office, I am hearing some interesting things they notice about the dentist and their practice. Although most dentists would prefer that patients not question their diagnosis and the state of their dental office (I am assuming because this would make their work easier), this is not the case. Patients are keen on what they see and hear at the dental office and will take notes in their heads when they are choosing a dentist. The first thing one of our new patients noticed was how clean Dr. Wong’s office is because he had prior knowledge that one of his acquaintances contracted hepatitis from an unsanitary dental office (which is rare since hepatitis is bloodborne). Another patient had commented on a previous dental office which had rusty instruments and went as far as to say that the dentist’s manual dexterity was getting worse with age (which may or may not be true but it matters to a dentist and his/her staff because the patient is paying attention to those details).
The most interesting case for me was when a patient came in to see Dr. Wong to get a second opinion on a shaky diagnosis she had received. This patient was told that she had eight cavities to fill but was doubtful because she took good care of her teeth. When Dr. Wong looked at it, he only saw ONE required filling which greatly reduced the patient’s medical cost. The point of all these stories is that patient has their own experiences to help them draw conclusions about a dental office and that they're not stupid. I think that it's very important for dentists to retain their integrity by understanding where the patient is coming from with their opinions and to respect the patient’s trust that they bring to a healthcare provider. I hope when I get to that point, patients will look at me with the same respect and trust as I will strive to give to them.