Did you know that I’m an adult with braces? It was strange getting them on a year ago, but, oddly, I can’t envision not wearing them anymore. This is because my orthodontic experience so far has been so pleasurable and… educational. I want to tell you about my orthodontist, and why my dream is for our public schools to even replicate a teaspoon of what they do.*
They are a family
A family owned and run business, it feels like the Cosby Show living room. It’s hard to describe in words the warmth palpable in their offices. You couldn’t really even call it customer service; I would call it love.
They are transparent
All the work is done in an open office space surrounded by huge windows to let the sunlight pour in. That means you hear a conversation one hygienist is having with another patient a few chairs down, and you can see the doctor give his/her descriptive feedback and expertise to the kid in front of you.
They are collaborative
At my orthodontist, it takes the proverbial village to get your teeth straight. No one has any qualms about asking their peer to come on over and give a second opinion, nor do they fear negative evaluation of their worth as a professional. People are honest when unsure about next steps to take with your teeth. As strange as it is to lie below two or three people speaking clinically about your mouth, it is so refreshing to witness the openness and internal connectivity they have. We talk about networked learning all the time, and we celebrate when we achieve it. At my orthodontist, it’s just a way of life.
They have a vision and enact it
“[Our mission is to provide] the highest quality of orthodontic care, genuine service, and a fun, friendly atmosphere.”
You can read their clear and concise mission statement, and then you can see it in action. At my orthodontist, actions speak louder than words.
They use technology (understatement)
State of the art doesn’t cover it. I have never seen technology used like this before. Every patient ‘station’ has a computer which connects to the database of patient information. If it happens, you can read about it immediately on any device in the building. It’s assessment and evaluation taken to another level. Viewing my electronic file is like reading a digital story of my orthodontic journey.
You also never see people getting angry with the technology, even though I’m sure their tech has as many hiccups as anyone else’s.
And after all the digital awesomeness, it still comes down to a bunch of tiny elastic bands to get the job done.
They have strong leadership
You can see it, feel it, and admire it.
Dear orthodontist, I want to be like you when I grow up.
*In the interests of avoiding the impression that I’m giving a formal endorsement, I’ve left the name of my orthodontist anonymous.