What is in Your Patient’s Brain?

Build your relationships first….then your dentistry. ~ Bob Barkley

What is in Your Patient’s Brain?

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“Purple Haze all in my brain…”

‘Purple Haze’ is one of Jimi Hendrix’s most popular and well known songs -and for several reasons. First, it is well known among musicians because it starts with a unique chord Jimi invented – now regarded as “The Hendrix Chord”, but among the lay public it is most well known because people think it is about a drug trip – but it is not.

In other words, a large part of Jimi Hendrix’s image today is based on myth not fact – Purple Haze was actually written about a recurring dream Jimi had in which he imagined himself walking underwater and surrounded by a purple haze -from which Jesus would save him.

In dentistry, we face similar challenges with regard to being misunderstood as well as misunderstanding others. Yesterday, I wrote about the AAOSH survey which revealed that 90% of retirement home residents would decline dental care even if it were offered to them for free.

From that survey, I think it is safe to say that the purpose of most dentists is -like Hendrix- quite misunderstood. I would also argue that this is largely because we have failed as a profession to make routine dental care personally relevant to many of our patients on any kind of deep meaningful level.

And I would say that the reason this has occurred, is that we have failed to build a truly helping relationship with a majority of them, one where we not only like each other, but one where we understand each other’s desires and expectations well enough that we can successfully collaborate on a common goal – their heath (and our Mission).

Let’s make the building of truly helping relationships our central goal this year. And by so doing, let’s start to move dentistry away from the image of it being a repair shop only, and toward one in which we are perceived as a helping, health-centered resource.

“…tell me, tell me, purple haze – I can’t go on like this…”

Paul A Henny, DDS

Thought Experiments LLC, ©2017

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