The Technology of Relationships

Dec. 1, 2012
At Berkshire Dental Group, we are nearly paperless. We have digital photography, radiography, radiographic analysis software ...

By Dr. Robert Mongrain

At Berkshire Dental Group, we are nearly paperless. We have digital photography, radiography, radiographic analysis software, a crown scanning system, a CAD/CAM system, four laser wavelengths, implant planning software, patient communication software, and so on.

Why would anyone have all this stuff? Because of people. I am a dentist because I love people. I love to be with people, work with people, and help people. The only reason to have any of the technology I have mentioned is to help people live better, feel better, and improve their health. Every technology or technique I’ve ever pursued was driven by a desire to get better results. When I graduated from dental school in the “last century,” dentists had access to any filling color we wanted as long as it was silver. Porcelain fused to metal was still new, and we thought we would have a vaccine for caries!

As I practiced, I soon learned that the tools that I had did not always get the results I was looking for. That sent me on a lifelong quest to find better solutions to problems I was confronted with each and every day. Technology does not exist in our office for the sake of having it; it exists because we want to help patients the best way we possibly can.

In a way, there is a technology of relationships. When I started practicing, I soon learned that I was not always the best leader, so I sought out speakers and seminars to help me develop my communication skills and build a more cohesive team. I learned about having a mission statement, the necessity of stating what you believe in and acting accordingly to maintain it. I learned that investing in team members — their education and their well-being — is not a choice, but a necessity.

I’ve learned that if I’m going to love what I do, I need to be in a constant state of growth. Every day I have to seek improvement. If we care about the people around us, both those we work with and those we serve, we have to be open to new ideas and new ways of thinking. Growth and learning can’t be limited to the office however. We have to progress in all areas of our lives: physical, relational, and spiritual. The more I work out my strengths, the better I can serve the people depending on me.

My career has spanned decades of dentistry already — from darkrooms and pegboards to CAD/CAM and lasers. From myself and a part-time receptionist to 21 team members and three doctors. From being the lone ranger in my dental world to affiliating with an amazing company called Heartland Dental Care. Throughout, there has been one constant: my goal to continually learn and grow.

Just like the ever-advancing technology in my office, I will constantly advance to better support, care for, and enjoy the people I serve. Without this growth, I would not be able to love what I do every day.

Dr. ROBERT Mongrain practices at Berkshire Dental Group in Broken Arrow, Okla., which is affiliated with Heartland Dental Care. Dr. Mongrain lectures and consults for CAD/CAM and other manufacturers. He is also an adjunct faculty member at the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry. He can be reached at [email protected].

Dr. Robert Mongrain will be presenting “The Practice of the Future.”

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