THE HEIGHTS SMI LE Herald
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The Secret Life of Dentists
Are Dentists at War With Each Other?
When driving around Mayfield Heights, you might have noticed that we have a lot of dentists around here. There are around 20 different dentist offices in Mayfield Heights alone. That’s nothing compared to how many of us there are when you expand out into the greater Cleveland area. Some patients assume there must be a fierce rivalry between practices. Believe it or not, this isn’t actually the case. The dentist scene isn’t quite like “West Side Story,” where we start snapping if we run into another dentist on the street. We’re too nerdy for that. A lot of dentists in this area are in the same study club together. We’ll read journal articles or books about dentistry and discuss the findings with our colleagues. In fact, I have a big stack of books to read over the winter filled with dental journals sent to me from other dentists. It’s nice to pass on new information and talk about it later. Like I said, we’re pretty nerdy. You’re not likely to see the kind of rivalry between dentists that you might see between car dealerships or local pizza shops for a few reasons. First, we all know there’s plenty of teeth to go around, and it’s not like one dentist could handle all the patients in a city. Second, and most importantly, what makes someone choose a dentist isn’t just skill level; the relationship also plays a huge part. It’s so important for the dentist and the patient to click.
I’m glad to work in an area where people have plenty of choices when it comes to dentists. It means that the people who come into my office honestly want to see me and my team. Every dentist comes to the office with a unique personality and a unique way of treating their patients. It’s so important that the dentist and their patient fit well together. Bad dentist-patient relationships are why people hate going to the dentist and spend years putting off their oral health needs. My patients are truly like my friends and extended family. I’m always happy to see them and catch up because we have relationships that work. Some of the people I see at the office are personal friends with other dentists in the area, but there’s no awkwardness. They’ve been a match for our office for years; it’s just the right fit. Good relationships help us get to that level of success much easier than if we didn’t click on some level. You’re not likely to see the kind of rivalry between dentists that you might see between car dealerships or local pizza shops …
We dentists tend to get along well because we have unique relationships with our patients. Occasionally, you do get someone who sees other offices like they’re the competition, but that’s the exception, not the rule. Most of us are friends or are at least civil with each other. In a pinch, I can reach out to another dentist with an unusual case I’m working on and ask for their take. There’s a connection between people in this field I find refreshing.
–-Jason A. Schermer
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