Dentistry is changing and I am hopeful that it is changing for the better. Before Tweets, blogs, and virtual likes, before “friend” was a verb, dentists often worked alone and went home to their familes where they maintained some anonymity. They also promoted their businesses mostly with phone book listings or other ads in print. Remember Steve Martin in “The Jerk” rejoicing when he finally saw his name in print?
Change can be overwhelming, uncomfortable, and awkward. But the internet connects the typical sole proprieter dentist to his or her peers, profession, and patients in a way that should give relief and support. It’s a relief to be able to research medical conditions, side effects, drug interactions and the latest research on anything. With instant access to our peers and professional organizations, the lone wolf dentist has a world-wide pack of support.
Dentists can now engage and share in a more personal manner. In dentistry, a personal connection can go a long way in breaking down a patient’s old anxieties. Dentists must consider that careful balance between presenting the professional appearance and letting their guard down in exposing their personal lives. “Every third Facebook post should be of a personal nature,” I was once advised. In a light-hearted moment, I recently posted a picture of myself wearing a set of BillyBob teeth, which I thought was hilarious. I did make some personal connections and I believe that by showing the non-dentist side of me, that I am, in a small way, promoting the newer, gentler approach of dentistry.
Developing an online presence is overwhelming, but I am excited about building connections and growing my practice. Writing this early blog entry was a bit uncomfortable. It sounds a little awkward, but the blog, like my practice, is a work in progress.