Should We Be Giving Our Dental Patients The Dental Treatment That They Want, Or The Treatment That They Actually Need?

Zig Ziglar often said:

You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.

And yet Mick Jagger and Keith Richards wrote, and sang:

“You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes, well, you might find
You get what you need.”

Who was correct?

And how do we apply these two quotations to dentistry?

In dentistry, our role is to help our patients get what they need.

And not what they want.

Because truth be told, if our patients were only given what they want, they would mostly receive cheap patch-up dentistry with the hope that their patches would outlast them [without hurting them].

What our patients need is fine quality dentistry that will look good and feel good and last a long time.

Patches do not tend to fit these three criteria.

And so the dentistry that the patient thinks they want is not the dentistry that the patient actually is in need of.

The oral cavity is a very harsh and savage environment. Dentistry that is not built to last does not last long in such a hostile environment.

What is best for the dental patient is to fix their problem correctly the first time so that their problem stays fixed and the dentistry lasts.

This is what the patient needs.

What the patient does not need is a repair of limited prognosis that is expected to fail in the short term.

What the patient wants is predictability and longevity.

Our role in serving that patient is to educate them about the VALUE of having predictable and functional and long-lasting dentistry.

Allowing the patient to accept anything else is a compromise.

If that happens, we have let our patient down.


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