Hands down the BEST part of being a dentist for me has to be the priviledge of connecting with people over the years and walking with them as they journey through the ups and downs of life.
My best moments in dentistry are these low key therapy sessions. No dentistry talk. Just life issues. Bereavement, loss, long hours, stress, depression, accidents to successes, engagements, holidays and new jobs.
Through the years I’ve really let my guard down and shared my vulnerabilities. Its a sure way of connecting, building rapport and conveying a more human, empathetic dentist.
This week I caught up with a patient who in the last 6 months shattered her arm and had her whole life turned upside down in a moment. She was still in pieces emotionally but keeping a brave face. Stuck and unable to move on. She was lost in the grief cycle, not at the stage of acceptance that life was no longer the same. The best use of my time wasn’t fixing her tooth, but more to listen and help her find ways to help her recovery. We did eventually get to her filling, but after a good heart of heart discussing upping coping mechanisms and signposting her to a psychotherapist. Holistic care is so important. The patient was super happy I had cared enough to have a chat, and I felt awesome that I had made a difference to her wellbeing. Moments like this I really cherish. I feel grateful of our position in making a genuine difference.