Maybe you’ve noticed some changes in our practice over the last year. At least, I hope you have! We have taken on some new services which have surprised some and confused others. We’ve fought all the hiccups of growth: hiring new employees, scheduling conflicts, redefining goals, learning new processes, and others that were not so fun… All because of a vision I have for this little dental practice in the middle of Mississippi.
I was raised truly believing I could be whatever I wanted to be. I knew that with enough work and determination, no dream was too big. Turns out, the older I get, the bigger my dreams become. Before you roll your eyes and write me off as a typical millennial, let me try to explain my vision. Here is the basic gist of it: I want to create a health centric dental office. A place that is so much more than just teeth. A place that focuses on whole body wellness and makes connections and referrals simple. A place that doesn’t let you get “lost in the system.” A place that cheers you on and encourages you to become the best version of yourself.
I’ve learned over the course of my 6.5 years of practice, that I have a few unique opportunities as a general dentist.
1) TIME. I see most patients at least twice a year. What other health care provider do you see so frequently, even when in good health?
2) TRUST. A certain level of trust is necessary for someone to be willing to let you into their mouth. I don’t take that for granted! It’s so scary and vulnerable for so many people, and it is an honor when patients trust me as their dentist.
3) THOROUGH. So many health problems are either related to the oral cavity or manifest themselves with symptoms that should be apparent to a dental health provider. At your biannual dental cleaning, we have 60 minutes of undivided attention on YOU. 60 minutes to notice periodontal disease, dry mouth, swollen ankles, abnormal skin lesions, etc. Not to mention the time we spend talking about you as a person- your mental health, your aches and pains, your diet, your sleep, etc. You name it, we’ve talked about it!!
So instead of just taking these opportunities as a normal “part of the job,” I want to use them to help people help themselves! Take our growing dental sleep practice, for example. Mrs. “P” has been seeing us as a patient for years. She keeps her regular recalls and has very minor dental needs on occasion. She tells us she has felt very tired lately and is struggling to lose those “last 10 pounds.” We encourage Mrs. P to take a home sleep test to rule out sleep apnea. She comes in the following day for a consult to find that she has mild sleep apnea. We help her understand why this condition makes it more difficult to lose weight and leaves her feeling tired. She chooses to treat the condition with an oral sleep appliance, and after two weeks of treatment, has noticed a marked improvement in her energy level- enough to motivate her to take a daily morning walk.
The changes we’ve made this year have been stepping stones toward this bigger vision I have. My hope is that, if you are a current patient, friend, or family, you see this dream of mine and share in my excitement! I would love nothing more than to see a positive health change in our community that started with a little dental practice in the middle of Mississippi. 🙂