Share Series: In The Heart Of Dentistry

Updated: Jan 31

By Ashraf Oreizi-Esfahani

Edited By Jamie Bieber

What picture is painted in your mind when you first hear the word “hospitality”? Some may think of the delightful flight attendant one usually sees when entering an airplane who is giving passengers a hearty smile and is ready to guide them to their seat. Others may imagine a capable waiter at a restaurant who takes the order with a graceful attitude and delivers the food to the table without any delay. However, not many people realize that hospitality also plays a major role in other professions such as dentistry. As a matter of fact, patients need much more care and attention than a traveler or diner because they are in a state of vulnerability and ailment. In our society, everybody knows that ideally, dentists should be trust-worthy, competent and knowledgeable. Unfortunately, there is much less emphasis on the importance of dentists being a great host/hostess in their practice. The truth is that in addition to resolving dental issues, it is imperative that dentists make patients feel comfortable and relaxed during their visit just as professionals would in an airplane or in a restaurant. As one of my wise professors, Dr. Ginsberg, once said: “High-quality human interaction is what makes a good practice a better practice.” In the heart of the concept of hospitality is a very important element: compassion. To provide excellent service, dentists need to connect with their patients and look at everything through their eyes. One can only provide the best treatment plan with the lowest budget if they truly realize the difficulty of having an empty wallet while being in agonizing pain. And one can better comfort a child if they understand the fear they experience after sitting in a chair twice their size with a masked person staring at their teeth.

Unfortunately, although it is one of the pillars which upholds the career of a dentist, empathy is practiced less than expected. This may be due to the reality that dentistry is becoming more stressful, face-paced, and exhausting leading to burn-out. It is difficult for a professional who is hanging on a thread to genuinely care for others. The absence of compassion may also be because emotional intelligence can’t be efficiently taught in dental schools like manual dexterity and critical thinking. It is one of the skills that is acquired through conditioning the heart and interacting with people. Though it is tough to be empathetic all the time with patients, there are ways to ensure that we keep the kindness in our connections. First, dentists should maintain a lifestyle that promotes their own well-being. How can one expect a person to provide healthcare if they are struggling with their own health? This can be done by engaging in exercise, eating nutritious meals, doing a hobby, etc. As a result, the number of dentists who experience burn-out and tend to become apathetic will be reduced. Furthermore, students interested in dentistry can be encouraged to be compassionate in their daily interactions. Meticulously giving directions to a person who is lost in a city or comforting a classmate who is extremely anxious about an exam are examples of how this can be done. These acts may seem insignificant but they will go a long way. Hopefully, in the future, these students will become the dentists who are ready to give their patients all the love and care that they seek. In conclusion, the importance of hospitality and compassion in dentistry should not be forgotten. Throughout their career, dentists should strive to continue to be figures of warmth and consideration. If patients feel connected with and loved by their dentist deep down in their hearts, that is when a very high level of success has been reached.

References Trzeciak S.TED.

Ashraf Oreizi- Esfahani is an incoming D2 student from Maryland who graduate from UMBC with a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences. After graduation, she worked for Smiles4Children as a pediatric dental assistant.

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