Dear Periodontist, Thank You

March 9, 2021
Lisa Newburger, LISW-S
Lisa Newburger, LISW-S

Lisa Newburger, a master's level social worker supervisor, helps audiences find humor in talking about tough topics. Her "in-your-face" style of presentations and writing will make you smile or just shock you into taking some action. Either way, she is very effective at empowering others to reach their goals and feel better about themselves. Her entertaining workshops are available for national and international audiences. Writing for the dental industry since 2010, she uses an alterego (Diana Directive) to illustrate her points in a sarcastic but effective way. Presentations can be scheduled by contacting Lisa at www.discussdirectives.com/dental.html.

My dentist and his team have gone above and beyond to offer exceptional care and unparalleled customer service.

You do so many things phenomenally well in your practice. When you get letters like this, it reminds you of how many patients you and your staff have helped through the years. We are so grateful for all the exceptional care you provide. For this reason, I am writing this article for each and every dental professional. You matter and make a difference. Thank you.

Dear Periodontist:

I feel a need to tell you what I am thinking right now. Don’t worry, this is not a complaint email. It is a letter to remind you and your compassionate staff about what incredible customer service you all provide. No wonder your patients love you.

I hope that you hear this every day. If not, I want to be the one to share what you and your team mean to me. Recently, you provided unbelievable care to me. It was for tooth pain that led to an implant. What touched me the most was your phone call later that night to check on me. Talk about great customer service. To know that your doctor is thinking about you and wants to make sure all is well, truly matters. You gave me your cell number and told me to contact you if I run into trouble.

I did not expect 5 days later to be having more pain issues. We implemented a plan for that, and then another tooth fell out. That was disturbing. We texted on Sunday, and you reassured me that we would tackle this together.

On Monday, I walked into your office unannounced because I knew I was in trouble. Big trouble. I did not call because you are short-staffed, and I knew no one would answer the phone. (You really do need to get that receptionist position filled ASAP.) When I got there, your hygienist laughed at my bad jokes—which is my way of coping with stress—and reassured me again that we would get through this. I felt so much better and appreciated the guidance. She sent me on to my dentist’s office as he is the true quarterback for my care. I knew this would be an ordeal, but I trust both of you to help me take care of my health, and you both always come through.

I headed off to my dentist’s office as I was on a roll with just showing up. I knew that they would help me just like your staff did. Besides, it is a safe place where I feel like I am with family. (Not a dysfunctional one…a healthy family.) We go way back—I’ve been his patient for 20 years. We laughed and joked as we always do and he told me that a second implant was needed. How fun. Losing both teeth that are instrumental to chewing food could be a weight loss strategy, one I would not have embarked on. But I can live with that. I joked about how Zoom’s next upgrade should be one that fills in teeth. Again, keeping my sense of humor is really the only way to manage this.

Your staff has been the epitome of everything I have wanted in a dental practice and what I need. I have watched your staff come and go in both practices over all these years, but you continue to hire exceptional people. I know that patients often say thank you when they leave their appointments. Some send in food to let you all know you are appreciated. But I wanted to go further and share how much I value everyone’s professionalism, expertise, and kind support.

Please know I am so grateful to have all of you in my life. You are making a difference in so many patients’ lives. Thank you for being who you are and doing what you do.

Sincerely, a grateful patient

Lisa Newburger