The Extra Mile & then some

 “And whoever compels you go one mile, go with him two”

Jesus

“for God loves a cheerful giver”

Paul

 These two quotes guide my life and my office procedures. We are in business to over deliver, to exceed your expectations, to go over, above and beyond the standards of care which unfortunately eliminate caring from the equation. This is really a sacred pledge to our patients and would be considered a serious breach in our relationship if we did not measured up to this plumb line.

The motivation for publicly declaring my living compass is because of the evidence my trusted colleagues and I see coming in to our offices. It is disturbing and is happening more frequently and can only be described as sub-par, designed to fail, ignorance of basic principles of dentistry without any thought given to the best interest of the patient. The few fillings I have were placed by Dr. Charles Martin 60 years ago, bless his soul, and the restorations I placed in my wife, Carolyn, in dental school are as good as the day they were placed 50 years ago. I had the pleasure of seeing on of my dad’s patients last week with beautiful textbook alignment 58 years out of braces. Yes, I do see great dentistry done by the tried and true professionals and I am proud of the high standards and dignity the majority of dentists live up to, but I never thought we would ever have to send up a “buyer beware” flag over our profession.

Some might attribute this noticeable downward slide to the effects of 2008, but hard times are no excuse for lack of integrity or moral failure. People have gotten so price conscious about purchases that long term value is a lost consideration. Built in obsolescence and throw away merchandise might be a boost to the economy, but it is lousy for dentistry, which is very demanding and requires the best of materials. Our obligation and duty is to continually improve our dentistry knowing full well that it will cost us more to deliver because we are committed to going the extra mile and then some.

I know it is difficult to appreciate the difference in the quality of service you receive from the “washed” as opposed to the “unwashed” because it really depends on the kind of person the dentist really is and are they willing to show you the long term benefit their dentistry will accomplish for you. This is not something you learn from glitzy advertisements. Rest assured that there are plenty of first class dentists in Pinellas County, but a few “Snake Oil” salesmen with a “cheating heart” have snuck in.

John B. Harrison DDS,MSc

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