Recently, I had an appointment with a long-time patient. At the conclusion of our visit, I said, “Well, now that your son-in-law is graduating from dental school, I guess I won’t be seeing you.”
She responded, “Are you kidding? I’m not going to see him. I want to see a real dentist!”
Wow. I can really relate to this. I’ve been on the receiving end of that sentiment. The reason is simple. The various friends and family members in our lives just see us differently. They see us in a more casual and familiar manner.
To my family and friends, I am “Andy.” As in, “What the heck does Andy know?”
To my patients, I am Dr. Alas. As in, “Dr. Alas says I need a crown.”
When Andy says you need a crown, it means that it’s time to ask your “regular dentist” what he or she thinks.
When Dr. Alas says you need a crown, it’s time to schedule an appointment.
There is a reason for all of this. You see, your family and friends were actually there when you took those photos—the ones that you now regret posting to social media. In fact, they are the ones who took those pictures of you during spring break. Don’t pretend you don’t know which photos I am talking about.
So these days, when you express a health-related opinion, let’s just say it doesn’t always come across as authoritative.
It’s all about context. Let’s try an experiment.
If THIS guy tells you that you need a crown, would you believe him?
Or would you believe this guy a little more?
See what I mean? (Yes, that is Dan Aykroyd in the first photo.)
Our family and friends just see us more casually, which is fine. I’m just glad to have friends that put up with me. I’ve learned not to take it personally when they tell me about their dental visits to another dentist’s office. It’s just something that I’ve learned to accept.
For the moment, though, I must stop writing. My wife has an appointment with a real dentist to see whether she does, in fact, need a crown on that tooth I told her about.
Andy Alas, DDS