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By Dr. Karl Anderson

During my studies at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry, I had an instructor point blank ask me how would you define “power?” With a background in farming and mechanics, I instantly started thinking about horsepower, tractors, and sports cars. He corrected me and said no, how would I define the power of an individual? I answered, being powerful is someone who is in charge or has more authority than the other individual. Little did I realize that he was referring to my recent interactions with a patient we had just seen and he wanted to me to think deeper about this concept of power.

In training, one of the things they drilled into our minds is the concept of “informed consent“. Informed consent is every dentist’s goal to inform their patients of their multiple treatment options including the risks and benefits of each. The reality of the situation is informed consent cannot always be achieved. This is what my professor was trying to teach me. Sometimes doctors have to make decisions for patients and the patients have to trust in what the doctor is doing. This makes dentists very powerful, even though our patients are ultimately in control of the treatments. My instructor understood that I was trying to achieve informed consent by explaining things, almost too thoroughly, to my patients, but sometimes doctors have to make an informed decision for their patients.

Dentists cannot teach years of education and experience in 15 minutes in a dental chair. Lastly, patients have no way of telling the quality of dental work they are receiving or even the difference in the quality and cost of materials used. This is why it is extremely important that dentist be as thorough and honest with their patients as possible.

Come see us at Anderson Dental where you will receive quality, in work and materials, and integrity you can trust.

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