Are You Suffering on the Path of Pain?
In Dental Pain Management Part I, I talked about why people go to the dentist and why they hate pain. Here in Part II, I’ll introduce you to the Path of Pain, the Hero and Goat, and the Good-Guy Bad-Guy routine.
When it comes to dental needs, there are two paths before you…
You can drift along aimlessly on what I call the Path of Pain. On this path you don’t have to make any effort at all. You’ll have long periods of relative comfort interrupted by brief but agonizing intervals of blinding pain. You’ll experience dental nightmare scenarios involving root canals, extractions and the like. Chances are you won’t be keeping your teeth on this path.
You see, during those long periods of comfort, bad things were happening but going unnoticed and untreated. Because nothing hurt at the time, nothing was done.
Your other choice is the Path of Health. Staying on this path will take some effort on your part. You need to take responsibility for your health and keep working to stay on this path.
The Path of Health is not a lazy drift.
The benefit of staying on the Path of Health will be that you’ll stay healthy, comfortable and keep your teeth.
Here’s the deal. The default is the Path of Pain. Doing nothing puts you squarely on that path drifting towards inevitable crisis and suffering.
They have good intentions, but are soft on delivery.
Your only other choice is to actively work at staying on that Path of Health. If you want to stay on that path, you must be more proactive with prevention. You must make the commitment and remain disciplined about your habits. You must adhere to a solid homecare routine and visit the dentist regularly.
Many people take a passive approach in life. They have good intentions, but are soft on delivery. For dental matters, that approach puts them smack dab onto that Path of Pain. They don’t want pain, but they bother much with home care or preventive measures. They only go to a dentist for crisis relief and sooner or later they’re in trouble again.
Ten or twenty years down the road they’re just another dental cripple struggling to chew their food.
Is that going to be you?
Dental Hero or Goat
As a dentist I’m constantly in the arena of performance. Depending on how that performance goes, my audience of one – you the patient – will determine if I wear a Hero’s Halo or the Horns of a Goat.
I love being a Dental Hero.
Pain will be the determining factor in this.
If you walk in with a painful problem and I bring you relief, I’m clearly the Dental Hero today.
I love being a Dental Hero.
If you walk in without any discomfort, but the dentistry I perform is either painful in the chair or painful afterward, then I’m the Goat in your eyes.
Success in dentistry is all about being a Dental Hero for people instead of a Goat. That means having people walk out healthier and happier.
Toothache – A Hero’s Journey at the Dentist (see video)
Pain People & Money People
This isn’t about pain, it’s about the money.
There’s a group I call Pain People. For them, pain is the dominant factor in their lives. All decisions are based on avoiding or eliminating pain.
There’s another group I call Money People. For them, money is the dominant factor.
Money People obsess over money and hate to spend it on things they don’t really value. They love when they can get good stuff at a bargain-basement price.
If you come to me with a problem and I can fix it at minimal cost, I’m a Nice Guy in your eyes.
If you have a problem that requires an expensive solution, well now I’m clearly the Bad Guy.
My status can change based on the cost of your treatment. How reasonable is that?
For Money People, the cost IS the pain.
Here’s the thing. I care deeply about my Hero-Goat status. I want to help people and have them leave my office healthier and happier.
When it comes to Good Guy – Bad Guy status, I’m not concerned. Money People will always feel upset about costs. Sometimes they’ll make a big scene just to try and swing a better deal. The old squeaky-wheel-gets-the-grease approach.
I don’t have much time for that drama. If you can’t afford the best solution, go for the compromise and be sure to maintain preventive measures. The last thing you need is additional problems.
If Money People are going to paint me up as the Bad Guy, so be it. I’ll still be here when they need to be rescued at a far bigger expense.
Moving Past Pain.
If you want to finally relax at the dentist, moving past the pain and drama is essential. Let go of whatever you’re hanging on to.
Now they come in smiling and leave smiling.
Forget about the Goat’s Horns and Bad Guy stuff that will sabotage your chances for dental happiness.
Learn how to stop worrying about pain and to start loving your smile.
Over the years, I’ve helped a lot of people regain trust and let go of their fears. Now they come in smiling and leave smiling. I love that!
I’ll continue this conversation about Dental Pain Management with Part III – Pain People and the Pain Trap.
Stay healthy and keep smiling!
Dr. Joe 🙂
About the Author: Dr. Joe Bulger is a West Toronto dentist. He’s also the owner-founder of Royal York Dental – a respected dental clinic serving Etobicoke since 1950.
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