Assuming one has watched the TED talk "Do Doctors Really *Care* in Healthcare" which you can find on this website, they will know that an extensive four year sociological research project was performed for the world's largest dental education organization to determine why people continually say to their dentist:

"Don't take this personally, but I hate you".

The dental profession thinks this sort of comment is unfair.

Maybe.

Maybe not.

It depends on whose perception one is focused on. The Dentist or the Patient?

Let's look at this Conflict of Perception sociologically for a couple of minutes.

While most people reading this might think "I would NEVER say anything like that" the fact remains, this particular comment is heard in dental offices everywhere and on an almost daily basis. This creates what psychology calls a Conflict of Perception, as Dentists want to believe they are doing something good for their patients, while (at least some) patients choose to acknowledge what their Dentist is doing by saying how much they "hate" the Dentist.

Psychologically, this manner of commentary plays heavily on the mental health and welfare of the entire dental team, which is why the aforementioned four year research project was conducted. How heavily does this weigh on the heart, mind and spirit of a dental professional? Research has shown that Dentists have one of the highest suicide rates of any occupation. The American Dental Association has been studying this phenomena for decades and reports that the Journal of Affective Disorders has determined that suicide rates are higher amongst healthcare professions than other occupations, but of all the different healthcare professionals, the suicide rate is highest amongst Dentists. Statistically, the overall suicide risk (this is the number of people who seriously consider suicide) for the general population is 0.42%, but for Dentists that number is 7.18%. This means that Dentists, who perform an essential medical service, have 8-12 years of university education and are highly paid, nonetheless are 17 times more likely to consider suicide than the average person.

Part of the reason for such a high risk factor is what Dentists experience in their interactions with patients.

So why do people say "I hate you" so frequently to their Dentist, especially when Dentists, esoterically, are only trying to help them. Why would a Patient say something like that just before their Dentist is about to drill their teeth with a high speed turbine drill that runs at 450,000 RPM and is equipped with a diamond drill bit that cuts anything it touches? Starting an appointment by telling the Dentist that you "hate" them or even if one only says the slightly less personal "I hate coming here" is not how to enamour yourself to someone who needs to focus all their energy, emotion and effort into doing microsurgical procedures on a patient that is not under a general anesthetic but instead, is someone who is more than likely to move their feet, shift their body, scratch their nose, or repeatedly push their tongue against the drill which, as mentioned, will cut and maim anything it touches.

This is the Dentist's perception.

But the 4 year research project "Your Dentist – A Love/Hate Relationship" was based on determining the Patient's perception, not the Dentist's perception. It provided invaluable insight as to why Patients say the things they say and act the way they act.

Understanding that there is a Conflict of Perception between Dentists and their Patients, let's be sympathetic to the Patients.

The problem is fear, but the research shows that it is not about fear of pain. In past decades, dental anesthesiology techniques have improved by leaps and bonds. Quite literally, there is no reason for a Patient to feel an injection, assuming the Dentist is taking the time and using appropriate techniques to make that injection "painless". If the patient is properly anesthetized (frozen) while the Patient may feel slight vibration* from the drilling then there is almost zero reason for the Patient to feel any pain during a dental surgical procedure, except if there is an infection present which compromises the ability of the dental anesthetic to get a patient thoroughly "frozen". So people who put off going to a Dentist until their tooth hurts so much that it has developed an abscess are much more likely to experience pain and discomfort, which is why Dentists encourage their patients to come in for regular check ups to find little problems before they abscess into "bigger problems".

*NOTE: dental anesthetic does not nullify vibration nerves, it nullifies pain nerves – only going under a general anesthetic nullifies both.

So if modern medicine has evolved to the point that dental patients shouldn't and most often don't experience any pain, then what is the cause behind a Patient's perception of fear?

Vulnerability.

Patients feel they are being threatened and research shows the neurological proof of the perception of threat.

Let's examine this for a moment. If a patient is under a general anesthetic in a hospital setting, they have no idea what is going on – period. As the saying goes, when you go under a general anesthetic, you are "Out". But dentistry is different. Dentistry is a very threatening situation for the simple reason that the patient is not "Out" and medical science is fully aware that when a person feels threatened, all of their neurological sensory inputs are heightened. In a dental situation, the patient still sees, smells, hears, tastes and feels. They see things that scare them (the needle, the drill) they smell things that are offensive (most dental medicaments smell awful), they hear things that trigger bad memories (the sound of the drill) and they taste dental materials being put in their mouths that are extremely distasteful.

None of these issues occur under a general anesthetic.

When a patient is under a general anesthetic, the Doctor does not need to be at all concerned about what their Patient's mental, emotional or spiritual state is, they only need to focus on their Patient's physical needs. But when it comes to practicing "holistic medicine" which is serving the needs of a Patient physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, a Doctor treating a patient under a general anesthetic doesn't need to put any energy, emotion or effort into focusing on the humanistic part of the picture, which is the Patient's mental, emotional or spiritual needs.

Because the Patient is quite literally "Out of the picture".

The "Veritas Way" is a concentrated effort during dental surgical procedures and treatment to recognize the difference between only needing to be focused on a Patient's physical needs, as opposed to needing to be additionally focused on the Patient's mental, emotional and spiritual needs. Because the patient is very much awake, very much aware, and very much feeling vulnerable and even threatened.

The "Veritas Way' is a commitment to seeing things from the Patient's perspective, not the Doctor's perspective. It is about understanding (according to the research) what a Patient feels vulnerable to, threatened by, and fearful of, then putting a number of Patient Protocols in place in an attempt to:

  1. Minimize the Patient's sense of vulnerability
  2. Eliminate factors that appear threatening, and then (hopefully)
  3. Reduce the Patient's different fear factors

What the research shows, is that Patients want to feel some sense of control in a situation where they feel out of control. The "Veritas Way" is an attempt to empower a Patient by manifesting a holistic approach to "care" that is focused on the Patient's holistic needs. This manifesto is what some have said equates to a "Patients Bill of Rights". This philosophical approach to holistic Patient Care is encapsulated into eight different statements, which comprise the Veritas Ethos. Every patient is made aware of this Ethos, every member of the clinical team is prepared to discuss this Ethos, and at every appointment Patients are encouraged to provide feedback as to how well, or how poorly, the clinical team tangibly manifested each tenet of this Ethos.



Veritas Ethos


  1. We are committed to explaining to those we serve what needs to be done, how we will do it and most importantly, why it needs to be done.
  2. We will encourage everyone to ask questions to the point that they are comfortable with the decisions we make, with them, collectively.
  3. Individual people have individual needs. Exemplary service begins when the needs of individuals are addressed, individually.
  4. We understand that achieving exceptional quality requires extra time and materials.
  5. We believe in collaboration and esteeming others.
  6. We will continually strive for improvement because we understand that perfection is not a destination, it's a process.
  7. We aim to create healthy relationships based on a mutual understanding of honour and respect, fortified by the pillars of accountability, responsibility, and integrity, then sustained by reciprocal faith and trust.
  8. Our goal is to establish a positive and educational environment, where people feel genuinely cared for physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.