I have often said that dentistry is a unique business. We are in the amazing position of being able to build trust, respect, empathy and loyalty with our patients over a period of time that NOBODY else can match. In terms of big corporations, I suppose only Apple or Virgin come anywhere close to being able to match our patients’ loyalty.
I was recently honoured to re-open a dental practice in north Wales, which closed suddenly almost a year ago. I have been delivering dentistry to patients who started to come in when we simply put a note in the window stating we were re-opening in seven days’ time.
Consider these stories of true loyalty. I had an appointment with an 85-year-old woman the other day, who had been with the practice for 60 years. I was truly humbled by a 92-year-old man who made it up the two flights of steps and stairs from the road to my surgery despite not being able to straighten his left leg.
How could I help but build trust, respect and empathy with this amazing man, who told me about his time in the Army. In 1948 he was in a military vehicle that overturned on Salisbury Plain, resulting in him being in hospital, in traction, for 13 months. Yes, you read that correctly – 13 months in a hospital bed! But he was grateful as most of his buddies were shipped off to Korea where, sadly, many died in action. He is still going strong, and was appreciative of my advice and treatment to help him keep his teeth in good order. He is a true character.
Some in dentistry can get caught up in the ‘get rich quick and make me a celebrity’ culture, which, I believe, is far too evident in our world today.
I say to you all – continue to care and believe, and you WILL thrive.