A young mother sits on the couch in the reception room. The couch is comfortable, and the reception area is filled with calming distractions. The fidgeting of her hands, the glances at the door to the treatment area where her two children are, and the glimpses at her watch are all signs that she is anything but calm.
Our business team members are trained to recognize this, and they do. They go to work reassuring mom and trying everything to help her relax, but this time it’s different. I’m sitting in the back reviewing cases when one of my team members approaches me and says, “Dr. Reza, I think you need to talk to mom.”
Those are words no pediatric dentist wants to hear. We’re trained to work with kids. Our personality is geared toward comforting children, not dealing with a parent’s insecurities. We learn how to do crowns and fillings in dental school. There are no courses on how to speak to a parent. If you’re lucky, you have a mentor you can watch handle these types of situations. If not, it’s trial and error; more error in the beginning for sure.
I’m on it. I walk to the reception area that is empty except for mom. I’m a pediatric dentist, but my priority right now is not fixing a child’s tooth, it’s helping mom. My amazing dental assistants are in the back with the kids having fun. My more than capable young associate is ready and able to put his clinical skills to the test with these patients. But none of that matters to me at the moment because mom is my concern.