Lessons from the dentist.

As far as things I dislike having to do have to go, attending the dentist is up there with paying tax and cutting the grass.

Back when I was very young I had a dentist in my home town in Batley who was at the time and probably still remains the most sadistic human being I have ever met. He was big into removing teeth and as a result by the time I was in my mid-teens most of my big teeth at the back were missing. But the inconvenience having the teeth removed caused was nothing compared to the pain experienced in removing them. So after experiencing the "Butcher of Batley" as I dubbed him, you can understand why having my teeth attended to is not my favourite thing.

But in the years since I found a more sympathetic and caring dental practitioner who made the experience less gruesome than those of my youth.

But when I moved to Wakefield going back to the nice dentist for check-ups was difficult logistically as they only work limited hours. This coupled with the fact they only took cash or cheques led me to look for a more modern and geographically convenient surgery with a card machine.

Long story short, I signed up for a place in Wakefield that is actually based in Sainsbury's supermarket. There was something about being able to go to the dentist then follow the visit with a chance to do the weekly shop that I quite liked.

The first 12 months went well, convenient, pain-free and kind of nice to be able to hear the announcements of the weekly offers in the supermarket as I have my teeth looked it.

But over the last four visits, I began to notice a pattern developing. I am always early for my appointments, it is something I pride myself on that whenever I have any appointments be it business or personal, I always get there 5 mins early. They sit me down in a comfy chair in front of a cabinet of dental products for sale. As there are no magazines to read as there was in my previous surgery, I am forced to calm my nerves by perusing the offers they have in the cabinet. And I seem these days to always have to wait longer until they are ready to see me. Each time I go, the cabinet gets bigger and more goods are for sale. Their latest offer was an electric toothbrush that's blootooth and links to your phone to ensure you don't miss any teeth during your cleaning routine. How did we ever survive without those?

Anyway, the cabinet aside I also started to notice that the staff, being good dentists were also exhibiting certain signs that they knew a bit about selling too. 

You see as a man that spent 12 years in direct sales, I can recognise a sales pitch when I hear one and know when I am being upsold to. Every check-up starts the same way, a quick look in the mouth a bit of a prod here an there and the dentist dictating a note to the assistant. This is then followed by me being informed everything looks fine and getting invited to have a quick rinse out with the blue sterile liquid placed conveniently close to my left hand. As I swill away, I am waiting for it, and then it comes, a simple, non-threatening word, "but". Here we go!

"But, you seem to have some enamel thinning at the back and your teeth at the front could be straighter. If you get them sorted they should be fine but left without treatment they could cause problems in the future."

I have to give them kudos on their skills, words like should and could are great to use. They add just enough doubt in the potential client's mind without actually committing to anything.

So what has my trip to the dentist got to go with wellbeing and personal development, well quite a bit actually. I can sum up how it relates in the following points

  1. Prevention is always better than a cure.

  2. You always have last say on what you buy/do

  3. Businesses are there to sell to you, even if you don't need what they are selling.

  4. Be careful of the advice you take, always get a second opinion.

  5. Research the facts for yourself.

  6. Only work with professionals, they are more expensive for a reason.

I have a good set of teeth these days despite the "Butcher of Batleys" best efforts to remove them all. I always take the advice of my new dentist but never agree to treatment until I have first researched it for myself to see it what they are saying stacks up. But away from the dentist, I have developed a regular cleaning routine that makes sure I am doing my bit to keep my pearly whites in tip-top condition. And I have learned not to fall for advertising, well most of the time, my toothbrush is actually bought fro them and yes it does have Bluetooth, I never use it but I always like to have the top of the range anything.

Gareth BootComment