patients aren't quota diagnosing dental treatment plans

editor’s note: Dr. Betty Orr, one of our favorite doctors and writers, talks to us about diagnosing dental treatment plans. “Never in my life have I sat down to diagnose treatment in order to fill my quota.”

In the Spirit of Buddha: Think Thrice!

I have seen the teacher Buddha quoted as saying, “Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates:

  1. Is it true?
  2. Is it necessary?
  3. Is it kind?

I have also seen these exact words attributed to the Sufi teacher, Rumi.

Whomever the author, suffice it to say, it is advice approved by all “enlightened ones”.

What occurs to me today is the modern relevance of this ancient wisdom to my current profession as a dentist and to my role as a diagnostician and educator.

Lately, I’ve heard some disturbing reports of some dental cultures pushing the envelope of ethics when it comes to diagnosis & treatment planning.

But I am also seeing students, educators, recent graduates and veteran clinicians pushing back and standing firm in their desire to present thoughtful, accurate and even affordable dental treatment plans, staying within the ethical parameters of their profession and choosing to exit company cultures which ask them to do otherwise.

That being said, what still disturbs me as an observer of today’s dental landscape, is what appears to be a potential shift in the mindset of clinicians as they sit down to examine their patients.

In truth, I have never been a fan of commission based dentistry. But profit goals, subordination and production quotas? Hmmm..

I do not think that Buddha or Rumi had the dental profession in mind when they spoke of peace and consciousness.  But I do think, that their joint advice is universal and applicable to any profession that takes an oath “to do no harm.”

Today, I share this ancient advice with you, my dental colleagues and friends, to serve as a mental checklist for your own self assessment as you sit down with your patients to present your findings and dental treatment recommendations in an ever-changing economic arena…

Ask yourself:

  1. Is it true?
  2. Is it necessary?
  3. Is it kind?

When you can answer “Yes” to all three, you can also answer yes to sleeping at night.

Relating to others with truth and kindness is sage advice indeed…. whatever the moment and whomever the recipient.

With LOVE,

Dr. Betty 🙂

If you liked this article, and for more how-to’s regarding your dental practice, check out How to Create a Comfortable Environment in a Pediatric Orthodontists Clinic!

If you’re interested learning more about presenting treatment to patients, check out the management resources Jameson Management has.

by Dr. Betty Orr

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