People ask me that, and most of them are surprised to hear me say this new patient exam, that's not a profit center for us at all, but I see too many patients come through my office and they've been to dentists, and they've had hundreds if not tens of thousands of dollars worth of work done in the past and it's fallen apart. It's fallen apart for the same reason it fell apart to start with, but no one's ever taken the time to sit down and figure out what's going on and explain it to the patient.
For Dr. Smith and I, most dentists have similar training. They can diagnose a problem, fix teeth, but for us it's important to diagnose the cause of the problem. I use an analogy: it's kind of like having a car. You're not mechanically inclined and you don't know you need to change your oil and have it serviced, so you drive it and you drive it and finally somewhere along the way, the engine's going to blow up or lock down and you're in for a big expense. You have warning signs: a red light came on, but the car still got you from here to there. In the mouth you have warning signs—bleeding gums or sensitive teeth, but a lot of times the patients don't know. For us, you're going to spend some money with us, make an investment, and we like to do excellent work, and we also like it to last. For it to last, you need to know how to take care of it, and I think that's important. Education leads to prevention, and prevention leads to less expenses.
Making people feel comfortable, making people not dread that appointment that they've been staring at on the calendar, hearing, "Oh, that wasn't as bad as I thought," that's good. That's a win for dentists, who don't have many friends anyway. We joke and we kid. We just try to make it comfortable for everybody. We know it's not probably what you want to do that day. It's something you have to do. You just want to make people feel good, and leave here telling their friends something good, and saying, "Hey, that was easier than I thought."