Today is Valentine’s Day and I want use this opportunity to share some incredible love stories I have witnessed over the years working as a dentist. OK. I know! Who would expect to find love in the dental office? In fact, most people hate going to the dentists. But the truth is, from working with my patients and their family, I learn to appreciate the love and the care they have for one another.
This patient had been afraid of a dentist all her life. In fact, it is the daughter who finally couldn’t put up with her deteriorating appearance and function that convinced the patient to have her teeth fixed. From the very beginning, the daughter came and provided emotional support for every aspect of the treatment. She would listen very attentively during the consultation appointment. She would ask all the right questions. And she would provide her mom whatever it needs to ease her anxiety. This patient ended up having multi-disciplinary treatment involving the use of dental implants.
I wish I can say this was a smooth sailing case. But it turned out that there were many hiccups along the way with multiple repeated surgical interventions. Despite all the hiccups, the daughter was incredibly supportive along the way, always trying to be present during important try-ins appointment. Even the husband, who acted more like a chauffeur in the beginning, began to show his support and love towards his wife by trying to find humor in what we do, despite all the problems we faced. All in all, I can really see the love these people have for one another.
This patient has had a lot of old stained fillings on her front teeth. She never once considered any form of cosmetic treatment. Until one day, she told me that her grandchildren made a comment of how nasty looking her teeth were. From then on, we discussed the treatment options of improving the appearance of her teeth. Without any hesitation, she proceeded with treatment. In the end, I provided her four porcelain crowns and replaced some old stained composite restorations. Since then, I had other patients who also ended up having some cosmetic treatment, not because they think they needed it, but also because their grandchildren feel embarrassed about their teeth. That was when I start to realize how powerful grandchildren may have on my patients’ dental treatment. The motivation is not necessarily trying to look better at this stage in their life. But rather, they care about how their children or grandchildren feel about their appearance. That is enough a reason for them to seek elective dental care.
The last story is about a patient who was well into her 90s. At the time, her physical health was deteriorating to the point that I really cannot provide any elective dental care except to provide pain relief or to control the infection. Her memory is also getting worse and the only comfort she finds is to be able to see the face of her son. So naturally her son became her caregiver. Her son, who has a full time job as well, would always willingly bring her mother in for her dental appointment. In spite of very limited treatment, he was the face of comfort for my patient. He would be the one who physically carried her mother to my operatory chair. He would be the one who explained to my patient the treatment options to her forgetful mom. In spite of the limited treatment options, I know he tried to provide whatever it was necessary so that his mom can be more comfortable during her last few years. He was incredibly patient and loving to his mom.
As dentists, we work in a very high stressed, detailed oriented environment. We are always so focused on getting the perfect margin, the perfect impression or the perfect occlusion. But sometimes, we should take the time to witness and appreciate these very heartwarming and loving relationships that surround us all the time.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Please check out my other posts too.