When I decided on a career in endodontics many years ago, I have to say that my WHY was to earn a really good income and avoid the strict 9-5 routine. Life being what it is, my thoughts and my WHY have morphed over time into something that resonates much more with me.
To be specific, my overarching WHY now is to change patients’ mindsets about root canals, still one of the most feared procedures in dentistry.
I know this comes as no surprise to you. We fight the misconceptions every day. “I’d rather have a root canal than… (you fill in the blank) …has become a total cliché but the anxiety behind it is all too real. My goal is to bring awareness to my patients as well as to the public.
New, less-invasive technology was my game-changer because it made me confident that I could deliver on my promise of a more efficient and more comfortable procedure.
“I’ve had 2 root canals in my life and I can’t say they were great experiences. The procedure Dr. Simcock used was so much better and easier than I expected…I felt so much more relaxed.” -Amy B.
If you are still using traditional root canal methods, I encourage you to step out of that box and, at least, give new technology a try.
What if we all focused on changing that mindset and committed to bringing new awareness to patients as a key responsibility in our practices? More about that in a minute.
I read a book recently, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sineck and it triggered something in me that I wanted to share with all of you. What Mr. Sineck talks about is that, without a solid WHY, everything becomes frustrating and dull. And in order to be a leader in whatever our field is, we need to be inspired instead of just going through the motions. You cannot inspire patients or staff if you have lost your purpose.
In my E2E practice, I have learned a great deal, including why so many Endos are disenchanted with their practice, even thinking of leaving it. When they only focus on getting through their procedures every day and earning more than last year, it becomes a sort of empty, unsatisfying success. Like me, WHY they became endodontists is no longer enough. What I have observed is that many of our colleagues are looking for a deeper meaning to life. Am I philosophical? You bet. It’s why I refer to so many thought-provoking books that I read in these blogs. So, I invite you to pour a cup of coffee, sit back and think about what would make your work more meaningful – in other words, consider your own new WHY.
So how exactly can we all alter negative thinking for our patients and the general public? A few suggestions:
First of all, treat your patients like family.
Satisfied patients are your best advocates. Make sure they are treated sensitively and compassionately by everyone from your front office to your support staff.
Add a short video on the home page of your website where you make patients comfortable and explain the root canal process to allay their fears? Just be authentic. No need for a camera crew to film you – a smartphone is all you need. Explain the misconceptions and put their minds at ease.
Include FAQs on your site that answer the questions patients have on their minds. We know that once a patient gets our name from a referring dentist, the first thing they’ll do is come to our site to size up who we are. Ask your staff to come up with the questions they hear most – that’s the best starting place.
Social media is ideal to bring awareness to the public – to address misconceptions head on. A few 30-60 second videos can go a long way to change public opinion to provide the real facts.
Yes, I still want to make a great living and I love the flexibility that endodontics affords me. But having a role in helping patients walk into a root canal no more stressed than if they were getting a tooth filled means I am doing more than saving teeth; I’m saving people from unnecessary stress.