Thursday, September 3, 2009

My way.

Somebody said that it isn’t fair for me to just reject people suffering from information overload. I’ve got to show people how I handle information overload.  The information overload coming from the mailbox is easy to take care off. There is a nice row of recycling bins lying between Tangs and Lucky Plaza. Sometimes, a look at the envelope can help me decide whether it’s better off in the recycling bin.
As for information overload from the internet, that’s even easier to switch off. I sometimes do a “negative search”. What’s that? When a salesperson comes to me with a new product … let’s call it Bestooth. I’ll listen to what the salesman has to say, then I go online and enter “Bestooth sucks”. I’ll see all the negative reviews. Of course, some of these negative reviews are written by idiots who have axes to grind. But not that many idiots have the time to grind them. What if I miss out on an opportunity to try an excellent product? My experience in dental practice tells me that exisiting materials and instruments are quite adequate for almost all procedures that are performed in any regular dental practice like mine. New is not always good. Just take a look at the new nano composites. Expensive and no big deal at all. Give me good old microhybrid any day.
A few years back, I attended a continuing education course where the speaker compared several brands of of adhesives in the lab. The conclusion, a certain brand (the one his company is selling) came up top in all the tests. But what is the significance? I have used the worst performing adhesive (according to his tests) and it has worked well in most cases. I have used his brand of adhesive (proven to be the best) and a few cases didn’t turn out well. So which is the best one of them all? I have no answer. But that does not mean that I don’t know which ahesive to use. They all work well with the proper technique! The trouble is, when a patient asks me which adhesive is best, he/she may be expecting the answer that will show that I know what I’m doing?
We dentists are all bound by the system. We have no choice but to get involved in continuing education. This puts us at great risk of information overload. The way to prevent this overload is simple. Just switch off. It takes a little practice to know when to sign in for points and then just switch off, but it shouldn’t be too difficult.
The patient who has overdone his/her research and listened to 100 opinions too many should understand that it’s more than sufficient to read up on some basics, enough to choose a good dentist. Once a dentist has been chosen, one should probably stop asking others for their opinions. I get rather cross when someone under another dentist’s care wants me to comment on a colleague’s management of the case halfway through the treatment. Interestingly, some patients get rather cross when they get different treatment plans from different dentists. They expect all dentists to handle a case in exactly the same way. The truth of the matter is, there is no single “best” way to treat a patient. By seeking different opinions, these patients are generating their own information overload. Shop by all means, but if you drop, then it’s your own fault.
Life is short and I think we can all do with a little more sleep.

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