When people look for an orthodontist, they’re looking for someone comfortable, reliable, and capable of getting the job done. Here are the nine signs that you’re a good orthodontist.
You can see adults, but let’s be honest, most of your work is done on kids. Children are particularly sensitive to the behaviour of adults, and the more you can put them at ease, the more successful you’ll be when working with them.
This isn’t just about helping kids relax, though. If children like their orthodontists, they’re far more likely to do the things they should be doing at home. If they decide to rebel, that could impact their treatment – and we don’t want that.
You didn’t become an orthodontist by lacking knowledge, but the best orthodontists work to stay familiar with the latest tools (such as using the best orthodontic treatment planning software), trends, and strategies. If a patient comes in asking about a procedure and you don’t know anything about it, they’re not going to trust you. On the other hand, if you can immediately tell them how it works and whether or not it’s suitable for them, they’ll be inclined to trust your recommendation.
For example, a university in America is currently investigating Aerodentis, a product designed to move teeth with air instead of metal braces. This could shortly become a part of your practice, so it’s worth paying attention and keeping tabs on its development.
Even if you’re not offering something in your office, you should be able to tell people why a given technique isn’t available yet and when that might change.
Being good with kids is critical, but it’s also important to work well with everyone else in your office. This includes:
Humility is one of the best traits for an orthodontist to display. When you’re humble, your attention isn’t on yourself or how you can look good to others – it’s on your patients and what you can do to make them more comfortable and relaxed while you’re treating them.
It can be challenging to balance humility with the need to also come across as an authority figure. If you’re having trouble, ask one of your staff to take the tough position with parents (“you need to do these things until your next visit”) while you take the humble approach.
Listening is one of the most difficult people skills to master, though it’s easy when humility becomes a natural part of your personality. As the expert, it’s your job to know what’s best for your patients – but there are many times when a patient’s circumstances can change what’s best.
For example, a patient may have weak bones – and applying the pressure of normal braces might snap their teeth rather than pushing them into position. It is vital that you listen to patients so you can better address their fears, ability to follow your instructions and specific medical needs.
Passion can’t be taught – it can only be shown. A good orthodontist is motivated by more than money and getting the job done. Instead, your focus should be on making a positive difference in the lives of your patients.
If you have passion, every other trait on this page will flow naturally from it. On the other hand, if your heart isn’t truly in your work, people will notice – and it will drag you down. Let your patients’ happiness become your happiness.
If you were passionate in the past but just aren’t feeling it anymore, you may be able to rekindle your passion by finding the root of the problem and resolving it.
When you’ve performed hundreds of orthodontic procedures, it’s easy to start looking at it as a mechanical process – but every new patient is new, and most of them are genuinely concerned about their appearance.
Actively displaying sensitivity and kindness will help your patients relax and focus on the future. Patients should never feel like you’re judging them – instead, they should feel like you understand what they’re going through and you’re ready to help them.
If you’re finding it hard to display the right level of sensitivity, try telling a few jokes or showing a picture of yourself from before your own teeth were corrected. Laughter and good teeth are tied together – and the more you make your patients smile, the better they’ll feel about the work you’re doing.
This is tied to both expertise and sensitivity. Trust takes a long time to establish, and a single mistake can bring it all tumbling down – so you need to act under the highest standards of professional ethics at all times. There are no exceptions to this – ever.
You may think you’re doing well, but people often find it difficult to recognize and admit to their own flaws. This is why great reviews are the final sign of a good orthodontist. If you see that people enjoyed their visits and recommended you to others, then you know you’ve succeeded.
On the other hand, if people have a complaint about your business, that’s something you should investigate. This is especially important because a pattern of negative reviews can turn others away from your business and make it that much harder to show how you’ve changed.
These nine signs are what people look for – and the better you demonstrate them, the better off your practice will be.