Indulge me for a moment and imagine yourself visiting your primary care physician for your annual check-up. You expect the usual report from your doctor. “Everything looks fine! See you back next year.” You expect your blood-work to come back normal and your doctor to give you a clean bill of health. However, this time she tells you that she needs you to see a cardiologist because she sees something on your EKG that she doesn’t like. She mentions words like “blockages” and “bypass surgery”. Naturally, you immediately get in to see the cardiologist as quickly as possible—your primary care doctor’s receptionist, in fact, makes the appointment for you for that day.
Now, think of this… did it cross your mind to ask your primary care doctor to treat your heart problem herself? Would you feel more comfortable with someone who treats cardiac issues all day long, every day, and has additional training in this specialized area of medicine? Of course! You wouldn’t expect your primary care physician to perform surgery, or attempt to treat cancer. The same way, Dustin and I consider ourselves primary dental care providers. We “specialize” in restorative dentistry, in other words, fixing teeth. One of our core values is that our practice is specialized. We offer the best care available within our scope of practice, and when our patients require something outside of that realm, we work with wonderful specialists who have additional training in that area, and limit their practice just that aspect of dentistry. Practicing in this manner assures that we get our patients the best that dentistry has to offer, and it allows us to focus our efforts on honing our skills in our own area of specialization.
We recently had the opportunity to attend a continuing education course where one of the speakers talked about branding. She encouraged us to narrow our focus, and to communicate who we are specifically, knowing that we can’t appeal to every single person in our community. She used the analogy of a restaurant she had passed by on the streets of San Francisco. The restaurant’s menu offered all types of cuisine – Chinese, Indian, Mexican, Italian and American. Now, I don’t know about you, but in a city like San Francisco, where you have some of the best restaurants in the world, I wouldn’t want to take my chances on a place like that. Could the cheeseburger be ok? Yeah. But will the Caprese salad be made with locally grown tomatoes and basil, and fresh mozzarella made from pasture-raised cow’s milk? Probably not.
One of our jobs as general dentists is to treat every patient as comprehensively as that patient desires and deserves with the greatest resources available. In a community like Baton Rouge, we are fortunate enough to have fantastic specialists in all disciplines of dentistry. We have chosen to limit our practice to what we are the best at, and to make sure our patients get the best available for what we feel is outside of the procedures we do every day.
Another one of our core values is The Golden Rule – treat our patients that way we would want to be treated. If I ever find myself or a member of my family in need of an implant, or a root canal, I know that I want them to be treated by the best specialist available. I want my patients to have that same experience. It may involve visiting another office and meeting another dentist, but time and time again, our outcomes are better when we practice this way.