I got a new dentist a couple of weeks ago and I was terrified. I was going to let a new man in my life and in my mouth. I was going to let a new man with unfamiliar instruments poke around my gums and molars. I would be totally exposed and vulnerable to Dr. Dillon of Monarch Dental.
I think most of us hate going to the dentist because there’s rarely any good news. You can have thirty perfect teeth and the dentist will focus on the one with the cavity, of course, that’s his job.
But Dr. Dillon was different. The first time he looked in my mouth it sounded like this, “Good, good, this one looks nice, oh, we need to work on this area. These are all fine. The gums are good, excellent. Ok, here’s a little spot we need to pay attention to.”
In other words, my dentist used the sandwich method! I love the sandwich method. We try to use it when teaching little kids Taekwond do. And every decent teacher encorportates the sandwich method unless she’s some old hag. In martial arts the sandwich method goes like this. “Joey, good job, your punch is getting a lot faster, you just make sure you don’t tuck your thumb inside your fist. or it will get broken. And you’re hitting harder, like you mean it, not like a little girl in a slap fight.”
The sandwich method, Compliment, Correct, Compliment.
Finally, I have a dentist who understand my need for praise and didn’t beat me up.
Once the nurse sucked all the spit out of my mouth I said, “You use the sandwich method! You said nice things!”
“Well,” he said and pulled down his mask. “I’ve got seven kids. I know you have to reinforce the positive.” Didn’t Kermit the Frog say something like that? “You have to tell people what they are doing right.”
Finally, a dentist who understands children, sandwiches and my fragile ego. I’ve been looking for this guy all my life. I think I’ll go home,tell my kids all the things they are doing right and floss really well.