Guest blog article written by Dr. Mike Schuster, Director of the Schuster Center, author, well-known speaker and coach to thousands of dentists.
This is one of a series of posts and emails Mike writes regularly, encouraging dentists to be the best they can be.
Mike has kindly allowed us to share a selection of these articles with you. This is the second of our selection.
In this article he talks about why dentistry has been, and is, a special profession for him.
Why I Love Dentistry
I love dentistry for so many reasons it’s hard to put it into a few works.
It wasn’t always this way for me. The first 2 years were really rough because I didn’t know how to engage people in a way that created trust. I sort of hit the wall, got an ulcer from the stress I was experiencing, thought of quitting, but decided to find or make a better way.
Learning to Listen
I worked hard at finding a pathway to communicate to people who I was, what I was trying to do and why.
I first learned to listen, to really take the time to listen to each person.
What did that individual person really, really want for themselves, from dentistry?
And I learned to ask patients questions about their future.
I learned that each person has a ‘story’ to tell and I wanted to know their dental story.
I wanted to learn how each person saw how dental health fit into their entire life. How their oral health impacted their systemic health. I wanted each person to think and picture their dental future.
The Dreadful Story
I developed a ‘dreadful story’ to share the progress of dental disease so each person could ‘see’ what would happen if they didn’t stop the progress of disease.
I would start with a picture of an ‘ideal mouth’ and then show pictures of gradual increases in destruction of teeth, gums, tooth loss and deterioration.
Developing the Love
I love the relationships I have had with my patients all the years I’ve been in practice.
I love working with my hands. Always did.
Dentistry is a great ‘hobby’ for me. I love working in the lab. Love pouring models, waxing up cases. I love every aspect of being a dentist.
I have had so many wonderful staff people helping me and each of them have been a great part of my experience in dentistry. I believe my team learned to love our processes and how we worked with people as each of them played a vital role of the practice.
I fell in love with dentistry when I was in dental school, but it wasn’t till I bridged the thought of working with my hands to helping, guiding people towards health that I got it.
Importance of Relationships
The relationships I began to form with patients really changed everything for me.
I learned that it is most important for patients to feel, to sense, to know I care about them, because I did and do.
They can see it in the way I ask questions and listen to them.
They can tell I care by the attention I pay to every aspect of how I examine them; how I interact and inform them; how I plan with them; the fact that I type-write a Master Plan for each person.
I summarize after every appointment what we learned, what we did, and what the next steps are.
Each person always knows where they are and where they are going, and why.
Being An Individual
Everything I’ve done is very personal, very individual, and transparent.
Dentistry gives me a chance to express myself; to be me every day in every encounter.
To be authentic. To be real. To share my heart, what I know and what I have learned in the service of helping each person.
It is been an amazing experience. I could practice in no other way. It is so rewarding when I build a trusting, open, honest relationship with another person. It changed me in so many positive ways.
I learned to let go and love people and in return they loved me.
The Amazing Experience of Working with Engaged, Trusting People
The whole experience of working with an engaged, trusting person is amazing.
I’ve spent my entire adult life teaching dentists ‘technical dentistry’ and also teaching dentists another way to practice and live on a daily basis. I wanted to share this ‘gift’ I learned with others so they could experience the same joy, fun, fulfillment and, of course, financial rewards that I have in dentistry.
The Head, Heart and Hands Profession
Dentistry is a head, heart and hands profession.
I get to use all my humanness in the service of another human being.
I learned over time to “never work on a stranger”, which Harold Wirth taught me.
I learned to take my time with people and not to rush them or push them.
I learned to slow down or speed up to the pace of each person’s engagement with me, with their own condition and with their motivation for something better.
The more I learned technically, the more I learned about relationships. Relationships ultimately became my primary mission. I believe that the quality of my relationships with people determines the quality and quantity of care that I am able to accomplish with them.
The Life and Practice Changer
Once I understood that the relationship was most important my entire life and practice changed.
This is why Private Care is so important to me. Private Care is about the type and quality of relationship I form with each person.
I love the practice of dentistry when I practice it in this way. I look forward to going to the office being with people and working together to accomplish something meaningful.
Dr. Mike Schuster
Director of the Schuster Center
Co-Founder of Performance Coach
Want to learn more from Mike? Go to the Schuster Center website!
Dr. Chris Toomey wrote to us explaining how BiteFX impacts his practice. We've reproduced his email so you can read it for yourself. Ask us for a copy of Dr. Chris Toomey's letter to us so you can understand why he says BiteFX "has an exponential effect that builds over time"!