This is a question I always keep in mind in order to meet the expectations of my former patients.
I believe in ongoing education and improvement because we all can improve, it is not a matter of age but a matter of motivation.
So in my opinion, a good dentist should be first and foremost able to listen to patients, listen to their concerns and their questions. I really want to underline the word: Listen.
We don’t listen any more, we think we do but in fact we only listen to people partially because we want to be quick, but at the end of the day, we end up wasting time because we did not take the time to carefully listen and understand our patients’ issues.
A good dentist should be trustworthy and ethical. I mean I know we all need to earn our living, no doubt about it, but I believe we can also earn money by being honest and ethical. We don’t need to advise several dental procedures if they are not necessary for the patient’s sake. I know some of my fellow dentists forget they treat patients not wallets or bank accounts.
A good dentist should also keep his dental knowledge up to date by pursuing continuing education, attending conferences, seminars so to be able to propose the best treatments and the latest techniques provided they are safe and have proven their efficacy.
A good dentist should be careful and gentle to make the procedures as painless and comfortable as possible. That is what I like to call the dentist’s gentle touch. A dentist should also be able to put patients at ease, by creating a relaxing and stress-free atmosphere.
I also strongly believe in patient involvement, a good dentist should explain all the options and all the steps of the dental treatment and involve the patient as much as possible. If a patient understands what we expect from him or her in terms of oral care, or maintenance following a treatment, then he or she will be even more compliant and stick to the rules for their own sake.
All in all, a good dentist should maybe just treat patients as if they were friends or relatives….
We shouldn’t even be talking about it because that should be the only way to be but we all know how far we can be from the reality….