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Dental Tribune United Kingdom Edition

23OpinionApril 15-21, 2013United Kingdom Edition For further information and details of upcoming UK courses please contact referred to as ‘Mr’. Perceptions But perceptions then changed. Doctors were still called doc- tors, but it then became the norm that if you were a par- ticularly qualified and knowl- edgeable doctor you might be referred to as a surgeon, or consultant. As a medical doc- tor then you looked forward to the day where you went from being a ‘Dr’ to being a ‘Mr’ again because you were somehow higher. A strange circle! But while all this was happening dentists weren’t called doctor at all as they weren’t seen as being as ‘wor- thy’ as doctors. Naturally this claim caused some affront at the time, and the dentists of the day fought hard to receive equal recognition with their medical colleagues. Nowadays however, none of this makes any difference to anybody. Gone are the days when you could phone up an airline or a restaurant and ex- pect an upgrade on account of your title. Nowadays you pay for what you want. So this de- bate really is very anachronis- tic and irrelevant. When I first started working, nurses were told not to call me by my first name. Did it make any differ- ence to their attitudes to me? Absolutely not – they either liked me or they didn’t like me. It’s the same with the pa- tients. I certainly don’t think they respect us any more by calling us doctors or anything else. We should be aiming to break down barriers, not build up even more of a wedge be- tween ourselves and the gen- eral public! Debate This brings me back to an old saying I was told many years ago now. That is, ‘people don’t need to know you’re clever – they need to know you care’. For me this saying cuts right to the very heart of the whole doctor debate. Should we be respected? Yes of course, just as every single individual should be respected. Do we deserve special treatment? Of course not! In my experi- ence, people with an ego hide behind a title. If we want to really form excellent profes- sional relationships with our patients we need to drop this insecurity and start focussing on what we do best – providing the very best levels of patient care that we can. So, when a patient comes to me and says ‘Can you help me Dr Sultan?’ I pause, and I reply: ‘Of course I will do everything in my pow- er to help you, just don’t call me Dr… call me Michael.’ DT About the author Dr Michael Sultan BDS MSc DFO FICD is a Specialist in Endodontics and the Clini- cal Director of EndoCare. Mi- chael qualified at Bristol Uni- versity in 1986. He worked as a general dental practitioner for 5 years before commenc- ing specialist studies at Guy’s hospital, London. He com- pleted his MSc in Endodon- tics in 1993 and worked as an in-house Endodontist in various practices before set- ting up in Harley St, London in 2000. He was admitted onto the specialist register in Endodontics in 1999 and has lectured extensively to postgraduate dental groups as well as lecturing on En- dodontic courses at Eastman CPD, University of London. He has been involved with numerous dental groups and has been chairman of the Al- pha Omega dental fraternity. In 2008 he became clinical director of EndoCare, a group of specialist practices. ‘Nowadays how- ever, none of this makes any differ- ence to anybody. Gone are the days when you could phone up an airline or a restaurant and expect an up- grade on account of your title’