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Dr Dread? Not me!

health-and-fitness Updated: Oct 02, 2010 16:07 IST
Dr Sushant Umre
Dr Sushant Umre
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Of all medical professionals, dentists are most prone to committing suicide, next only to psychiatrists. Could it be the lack of appreciation that their patients have for them?

Dentists perform intricate, complex and highly demanding procedures with high-speed machines in relatively small fields of operation. They are constantly required to upgrade their skills and stay abreast of modern technology. To achieve this they must overcome the steepest learning curves. And as if this were not enough, they must constantly face hostile patients who look at them with dread but expect a smile in return.

Would you like to step into my shoes for a moment? Your client walks into your office in the morning and his face reads ‘I hate being here with you!’ Not a great start to your day is it? That’s what dentists go through day in and day out. How is the poor dentist to cope? It’s likely that a more charitable patient may concede that it’s not you, it’s your fillings, root canals, equipment and the sound of your drill and the smell of your office. Even worse is when the dentist has decided to enjoy a pleasurable evening away from unfriendly faces and rotting teeth. People meet him socially and are likely to ask. ‘Hey doc, my teeth are so yellow, what do you think?’ I’m tempted to say ‘Yes mister, your teeth are quite yellow, but are a perfect match for your brown tie!’

Dentists are considered to be an expensive lot. ‘Five thousand rupees for a 10-minute job of extracting a tooth?’ What reaction is expected? ‘I shall remember to take an hour to extract your tooth slowly the next time.’

Parents blackmail their children with a visit to the dentist’s office, when they need to get their children to comply. The poor dentist is subsequently faced with a terrified or reluctant child… a dentist’s biggest nightmare!

Dentistry is the only modern medical science that can offer substantial aesthetic smile correction without the need for a single injection. This could include basic whitening of teeth to make one look good and feel better. It could be the use of veneers done to achieve a perfect smile. No other medical discipline, including plastic and aesthetic surgery, can achieve predictably what dentists can produce in a matter of minutes.

Also, don’t hate your dentist because he can functionally rehabilitate a worn down dentition with crowns, bridges and implants. The dentist is the only medical specialist who can not only relieve you of pain from a rotten part of your body, but also with the help of root canals and other restorative procedures, make the same tooth serve you effectively for years.

Dental prophylactic therapies are most effective. A sealant or a fluoride application on young teeth may prevent tooth decay. Regular clean-up appointments can prevent gum disease. Early detection of tooth decay at a routine dental appointment may prevent extensive dental therapies in future. So don’t hate your dentist, instead love him or her.

Dr Sushant Umre is a cosmetic dentist and runs a practice, Dental Aesthetics, in Delhi