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Letter From Dear Doctor

Issue 20 of Dear Doctor Magazine

Doctor-Patient Trust Is All About Communication

Communication is the activity or even the art of conveying information. It comes from the Latin “communes,” meaning to share. The process is complete once the receiver has understood the message of the sender. It can involve an interchange of thoughts or opinions, imparted by writing or signs; it can be verbal, non-verbal, implicit or explicit.

As you will see in our guest editorial “A Dental Patient's Bill of Rights & Responsibilities,” things have changed a lot over the last 40 or so years. But as always, along with new rights and expectations come responsibilities — both for the consumer and the healthcare provider.

As doctors, we know that our decisions directly affect our patients' health, and sometimes even their lives. We're the ones who have spent years, even decades, immersed in the minutiae of medical science, so we bear the greater responsibility for making sound decisions and building the best possible relationship with our patients. In the end, however, the doctor-patient relationship is not based on science but on trust, and trust is a facet of communication. As a patient, you have a responsibility to be forthcoming with your doctors so they can help you make the best treatment choices given your particular situation. And keeping yourself informed can only help you do this.

The goal of Dear Doctor has always been, and continues to be, to provide state-of-the-art information on topics of oral and general health in an easy to understand, entertaining and informative way. We want to help you navigate through the myriad of topics that can affect your health and well-being. This will enable you to make informed decisions along with your healthcare professional.

As has been stated before in our pages, there may be many treatment choices and techniques, but there can only be one correct diagnosis. It is the responsibility of your doctor to find it. However, a treatment decision you and your doctor make together in the light of knowledge and with good will is generally the right one. It's all about communication.


Mario A.Vilardi, DMD

Garry A.Rayant, BDS, DDS, LDSRCS, MS