In December 2016, a Wisconsin Veterans Affairs medical center made national headlines when nearly 600 patients were exposed to HIV and hepatitis B and C after a dentist reused his own dental instruments instead of performing procedures with hospital-sterilized, disposable tools. This past April saw the publication of “Lion Hearted,” an account of Cecil the lion’s last hours before he was shot and killed by Walter Palmer, a Minnesota dentist who became an overnight internet pariah following his ill-fated safari in July 2015. These are just two news stories, but each one can impact how the public views our profession and how much our patients trust us.
“If you asked my patients what they think of our profession, I’d guess more than half the time they’d say they hate [going to] the dentist,” says Dr. Jeffrey Cloidt, a group practice leader at Columbia University School of Dental Medicine.
But why does it seem, at times, like patients don’t trust dentists? Some might argue that part of their frustration comes from prior negative experiences. Even before they get into the chair, patients can harbor skepticism and doubt about their dentist’s trustworthiness.
Read the rest of this article in the November/December issue of Contour magazine.
~Aaron Shea, Columbia ’20, Chapter Editor-in-Chief