Empathy: My Priority

skills to become doctor

Dr Kanchan Umesh SHETTY responds to ThinkWellness360 questionnaire: 

Why and how did you think of becoming a doctor? 

I had come across this quote, in my formative years, that only two professions in this world have it in them to give you the feeling of care and compassion — teaching and medicine. I always wanted to be a teacher, but it was during my college days that I decided to opt for medicine.

What made you think of, study and specialise in the system of medicine you now practice?

As soon as I joined BDS I was sure of one thing — to pursuing my Master’s. I was convinced that a post-grad degree in the field would provide me with the required depth, as also knowledge and skill in the speciality — this is also the need of the hour, in dentistry, as also medicine.

You’d obviously need to specialise to using advance techniques, materials, and gadgets — this helps you to delivering the best treatment outcomes to your patient.

What has been your personal and professional experience as a doctor?

Professionally, it has been extremely rewarding, especially to seeing the relief, comfort and satisfaction on my patient’s face, following a dental procedure This make me happy. I’m glad that I have the ability to relieve the patient’s pain and ‘jazz-up’ their smile quotient.

Personally, I feel that it is god’s gift for me to make my parents proud and help people I know, or do not know, with any dental issue — with the knowledge and experience that I have gained during my journey, so far. The best part also is — there is a long way to go and to expanding my knowledge and experience.

What unique and special skills you think you have that has made the big difference for your patients?

Literally, every patient is scared of visiting the dentist as there is that archetypal fear of ‘drilling,’ needles, and other instruments. It is also a possibility for some patients to have had a bad dental experience.

This makes them anxious while sitting on the dental chair. I think it is the soft skills and patient communication that makes the big difference.

It is also agreed that, technically speaking, the patient will never know whether, or not, the root canal treatment, for example, was done properly — but, all that they remember is the dentist’s ability, also finesse, to making them feel comfortable during the treatment — this ought to be a painless experience to the best extent possible.

Empathy and sympathy towards my patients has always been my priority. I make sure that my patients follow-up the next day over a call. If we treat every patient as our own family, not just as a patient, one automatically reaches the next level in patient care.

What is your best definition of optimal wellness and why?

Wellness is practising healthy habits on a daily basis in order to achieve optimal physical and mental health — so that instead of just surviving, you are thriving in mind, body, life, career, and relationships.

Your best case?  

When a tooth needs a root canal procedure the patient usually experiences throbbing, also radiating and unbearable pain. For me, my best case, as a rule, is when my patients leave the clinic with a big smile and bless me for it.

Your ‘not-so-good’ case?  

It’s really disheartening to seeing young patients losing their teeth — this happens when they visit the dentist when the teeth are grossly damaged, or far too gone. This often leads to extraction. This is simply due to lack of dental awareness and utter carelessness.

Patients don’t realise that the consequence of their negligence may not lead to losing only one tooth, but also trigger problems for the surrounding teeth just as well. Besides, certain parents don’t agree to get the treatment done for their kids’ milk [deciduous] teeth, as they feel there is no point in treating ‘faulty’ teeth, since it will eventually ‘fall’ in due course — so why spend money on treatment?

The point is — they do not seem to understand that it’s extremely important to keep milk teeth healthy in order to prevent problems with the permanent teeth. Yet, the paradox is obvious — they don’t mind spending on iPhone, or expensive gadgets.

One should always remember that dentistry is not expensive, when you nip dental problems in the bud — negligence is. Remember, that, healthy teeth are a priceless gift. They hold the key to optimal health and wellness.

What appeals to you the most? 

When a patient refers my name to their family, friends, colleagues, and others. When I meet a relative whom I have treated, and the way they talk to others about how painless their dental experience was — maybe, a single sitting root canal treatment — it makes my day.

What annoys you the most?

The fact that the corporate industry has extended into the medical fraternity and turned this noble profession into just completion of targets. I’m totally against disreputable practice in dentistry.

I don’t mind anyone charging a ‘fat fee’ for treatment, provided the patient is given top-quality treatment with the latest technology.

Your favourite book?  

Can’t think of just one. 

Your favourite joke?

Can’t think of one specific ‘gag.’ 

Your favourite song?

It’s a long list… 

Your favourite movie? 

There are a handful of them. It’s difficult to pick just one. 

Your favourite TV, Netflix show? 

Nothing in particular.

Your other interests, or hobbies?

Dancing. I have a dance-centric Instagram handle too with more than 180 dance videos. I make it a point to attend one dance workshop, every week, no matter how hectic my schedule is. I’m super-proud and amazed how dancing has brought about a fine balance to my profession-cum-passion.

Your goal in life? 

To spread dental awareness among the low socioeconomic strata and spread happy smiles. To remain happy and healthy in mind and body, and continue doing my best in my profession; also passion. 

Dr KANCHAN UMESH SHETTY, MDS, is an in-house endodontist at Dr Dudhat’s Speciality Dental Clinic, Mumbai. She is also a consultant endodontist at several other dental clinics across the city.

5 thoughts on “Empathy: My Priority

  1. Durva Naik says:

    You’ve that bespoke, caring, efficient and friendly touch; also service. I wouldn’t consider going anywhere else for my dental treatment.

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