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Professionalism in Dental Care

By David Campbell, DDS | August 02, 2016

by David Campbell, DDS

The Lord is moving our profession within new organizations here in the U.S. A great growth in dentistry has begun in the Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC). This provides a new avenue of witness and service for Christian dental professionals in our country.  

Healthcare was founded on the Hippocratic Oath and the Good Samaritan ethics. So a blend of secular and Christian efforts has created our healthcare professionalism. In the dental profession, we arose from the private medical office model and maintained the same high standards of professionalism. Interestingly, we have also maintained our cottage economic model in dentistry by operating mostly within independent, small facilities with only one or two dental professionals. This is great, and it is also a credit to our profession. In addition, it is interesting that, even with the growth in large dental group delivery systems, the most recent success models have started incorporating private dentist partnership models that preserve the decision making within the conscience of the dental professional. 

Yet, another opportunity has started to emerge for dentists. The FQHCs have unique perspectives that serve mission-minded Christian dentists well. The model encourages whole person care. The idea from the secular governance encourages dentists, physicians and behavioral health professionals to operate in one clinic setting under non-profit status in areas with high economic and cultural dysfunction. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) reward these non-profits for seeking out the "least" in our community, with greater grant opportunities awarded to those in the worst areas of our country. Not surprisingly, numerous Christian health centers were already operating in these areas and qualified for the highest support structures. 

In these times of frustration and upheaval, it's encouraging to see the Lord is creating a new oasis for His servants. Whether secular or Christian, these FQHCs will share the Lord's heart by serving the least. The foundations for addressing whole person care also lead to encouraging spiritual and cultural foundations for the patients in a way few other secular government-supported organizations allow. Wise use of the standard of whole person care can lead one to embrace personalized sharing with patients.

This is amazing maturation for our profession. While most of the older dental schools inspired students to pursue cosmetology dentistry, newer models of dental education are working within these FQHCs to share the rewards of serving the least and addressing huge needs (exciting dentistry), regardless of patient resources. Every dentist can explore their calling for service through the profession, whether in established rural practices, high cosmetic affluent practices, group practice opportunities or this new avenue of public health dentistry. We are blessed with skills and resources to serve in personal individual encounters with patients who often feel emotionally open and trusting. Every contact with a patient can connect souls and also allows opportunities to share deep truths often raised by health trauma. Pray for these moments of connection. Prepare to be used by Christ wherever you're called. The Lord's love is all that lasts. 

“To whom much is given, much is required” (Luke 12:48, paraphrased).

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