Dental Asia Jul/Aug 2018

18 DENTAL ASIA JULY / AUGUST 2018 Dental Management The challenges In the last 20 years, our profession has known several revolutions: dental implants, new techniques, new materials, and now we talk about ‘Digital dentistry’. Some development laboratories are working on robots able to replace the dentists for speciƤc works. One has placed implants on a real patient, and these implants were Ƥtted within a margin of error of 0.2-0.3 mm, reaching the required standard for this kind of operation. This operation was performed without any human intervention other than preparing and positioning the patient. It was developed in China, jointly by the FourthMilitaryMedical University’s a ƥ liated to the Stomatological Hospital, based in Xian, and the robot institute at Beihang University in Beijing. It took four years to develop the machine. Clearly, we are at the dawn of a newera, these new technologies are going tomake our work much safer and e ƥ cient, it is obviously the future. Of course, it is crucial that all dentists follow that stream, get the proper training and make the right investments. The challenge is to make the right decision. Questions we face In this very competitive world, will the new dentistry solely evolve through the technologies? More or less, in a near future, most of the dentists in developed countries are going to have very similar training and in-house technologies. What next? Starting to escalate in buying more and more sophisticated equipments to compete with other dentists around? What is going to make a patient choose your practice? Your equipment? Your ‘Robot’? Actually, what motivates patients is rarely the real quality of your dentistry, but ‘only’ the idea they have of it, theway they perceive it. Frustrating? Surely. Unfair? Probably. We have to face the reality and accept to take this into account: People are not only driven by their rationality, the reptilian brain is in play. The way we communicate, the non-verbal, body language, the empathy, all these components are fundamental to attract, convince and motivate the patients. This is a more di ƥ cult task, undoubtedly we can be trained on the new tech, but when it touches emotions, creating trust, how you express yourself… This is really more challenging. Like in every skill, we are all not equally gifted. In our studies or training, we have met in workshops some students with great adroitness: the best cavities, the best impressions, the best in various Ƥelds. Mr. or Mrs. ‘Perfect’. They are naturally gifted for working with their hands and others have to work hard to reach their level. Are they better dentists than you? Not sure. Are they attracting more patients? Maybe not! Working on artiƤcial models, animal heads, cadaver, eggs is deƤnitely very di ơ erent in terms of interaction and working with real people! It is clear now that being a perfect dentist is not only having a ‘good pair of hands’. The patient’s perspective During our studies, we have been judged by other dentists on a technical basis and during our career, we still believe that it is the same. In fact, we have to face patients, their feelings or choices are based on totally di ơ erent standards. Wemust look a step ahead and beyond the pure technical aspect of our job. Now, it is time to take into account the human aspect. We need to think di ơ erently and take intelligence and experiences from other Ƥelds that can be comparable. Think about marketing: ‘Basically, wemight look at marketing as a wide range of activities involved in making sure that the needs of customers are continuallymet and they are getting value in return.’ It is crucial to understandwhat are the needs and expectations of our patients, but as professionals, it is our duty to help themmake the right decision. At the end, we keep the entire responsibility of the treatment. Some might think most patients are aware of how di ƥ cult and important some treatments are? Let’s take endoddontics as an example, perception of the patient when he leaves the clinic is like nothing really changed (except in case of an emergency treatment motivated by pain). Patients are not aware of the di ƥ culty, the expertise, the concentration involved in such treatment. They only judge you on four main factors: 1. Painless treatments 2. How they feel with you 3. The cost of the treatment 4. The quality of the treatment I intentionally mentioned ‘quality of the treatment’ as last because, from the patient’s point of view, there is a big di ơ erence between the dentist and the patient. The dentist thinks the ‘quality’ only in terms of technique: endodontic treatment is perfect, implant is exactly at the right position, or ceramic crown looks good. But the patient has a di ơ erent perspective, combining the four points together as a unique sensation that he unconsciously names ‘quality of treatments’. We have, quite often, patients who are very happy with their dentist and we, as professionals, can see that the quality might not be good. By Dr. Jean Charles Rivoire (France) New Vision in Communication for the Development of A DENTAL PRACTICE