Communication is king!
This is not a revolutionary statement, but one that we remind ourselves of constantly in our practice. Many dentists, including myself, have a tendency to jump right into discussions with patients about the latest technology. This is probably because there is in fact incredible technology available that benefits our patients with faster and easier treatment and with better outcomes than ever before. However, we have found that most patients are less excited about the process and materials involved in restoring teeth or healing diseased gum tissue than we are. Patients want to be cared for as people, beyond the scientific advancements in dentistry, and we understand.
We have learned that most patients want very simple things. First of all, they want their concerns to be heard. This requires us to slow down, and take the time to listen. When you come to our practice, we spend extra time getting to know you beyond your teeth. We provide the opportunity for patients to tell us what they want us to know, and not just the other way around. There needs to be a balance between a patient expressing their concerns and the dental team sharing information and options that fit their values. It is most definitely a two way street.
Many patients have said to me, “I trust you doc. Just do whatever you think is best.” While satisfying to have someone’s trust, it is no longer acceptable to operate in this way. Informed consent requires that people have enough information to make an appropriate decision about their treatment. In order to accomplish this, we need to share everything that we see to the best of our knowledge and ability. Sometimes it is uncomfortable to see photos of things that are not in perfect health, but it is important to share that information because the majority of the disease we see on a daily basis is painless. Moreover, when conditions are painless, patients interpret that as there being no problem.
It is also important that patients understand the consequences of the different options, including what will happen if someone chooses not to address the problem. As long as there is an understanding of the condition, and the consequences of one’s choice, we will support the decision made.
There are so many people who suffer ongoing chronic pain in their mouth, or the embarrassment of their existing smile, and we know how easy it is to feel that there is no hope. However, there is hope and it all starts with building a relationship through open communication. I am so fortunate to have compassionate team members who are always aware of making the environment as comfortable as possible. Our goal is to improve the health of our patients through listening and not lecturing.
We are accepting new patients, and should you wish more information, please visit www.drdrew.ca or call (705) 788-3067.
Dr. Drew Markham Dentistry was built in 2008 and is located in Commerce Park, in the southeast corner of Hwy 60 and Hwy 11.
Dr. Drew earned an Honours Bachelor Degree in Physiology from the University of Toronto in 1993, and his Doctorate of Dental Surgery from the University of Michigan in 1998.
He has undertaken extensive post-graduate training in cosmetic and neuromuscular rehabilitation, which led to further training in orthodontics, sleep dentistry, and dental implants. Dr. Markham has fellowships from the Las Vegas Institute (LVI) and the International Association of Physiologic Aesthetics (IAPA). He has served as one of three Canadian clinical instructors, and also as a regional director for the Las Vegas Institute since 2008. Most recently he served as president of the International Association of Physiologic Aesthetics – a 500 member organization dedicated to the comprehensive care of their patients.
Dr. Drew along with his wife, Janet, and their 2 sons, came to Huntsville in 2005.